West End Players Guild closes out its 110th season with Martin McDonagh’s The Lonesome West, a four-time Tony Award nominee on Broadway (including Best Play of 1999). The show opens Friday, April 29 and runs through Sunday, May 8 in the theatre at the Union Avenue Christian Church in the Central West End.
Set in Leenane, County Galway, in western Ireland, this darkest of dark comedies offers multiple murders and suicides, periodic drunken rages and fistfights, a couple of knife attacks, random acts of sacrilege and oodles of despair. Like the two other plays in McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy, it would be a rather sad story if it wasn’t so outrageously funny.
The story revolves around brothers Valene and Coleman Connor who, as the play begins, have just buried their father, recently deceased as the result of a shooting accident. Valene and Coleman are a middle-aged and embittered pair. They have nowhere to go in their lives and are in no hurry to get there. Neither brother is especially saddened by the death of their father. Each seems animated instead by his all-consuming hatred of the other. They spend their days and nights brawling over the most trivial and mundane of slights, both real and imagined, much to the dismay of their parish priest, Father Welsh. Welsh fears (not unreasonably) that the brothers are headed for a violent end, and is on a mission to salvage their relationship at any cost.
Robert Ashton directs the WEPG production which features Jason Meyers as Coleman Connor, Jeff Kargus as Valene Connor, Ted Drury as Father Welsh and Hannah Geisz as Girleen Kelleher, a flirtatious teenager who makes a living selling her family’s poteen (Irish potato moonshine) door-to-door. The Connors are among her most frequent top-volume customers.
WEPG will present The Lonesome West in seven performances at 8 p.m. Thursday (second week only), Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, April 29-May 8. Tickets for all performances are now on sale at www.WestEndPlayers.org/tickets.
West End Players Guild this season employs touchless ticketing, socially-distanced seating and indoor masking of all patrons and front-of-house staff and volunteers. For full details on our public health policies, please visit www.WestEndPlayers.org/covid-19-policies/.
Mark Abels photos
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.