Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mosaic Theatre: The Irish Curse (6 reviews)

Mosaic Theatre Company opened its production of Martin Casella's The Irish Curse on February 12, 2011.
What "The Irish Curse" is - and how it manifests itself - is the raw centerpiece of this wicked, rollicking and very funny new play. From its blistering language to its brutally honest look at sex and body image, "The Irish Curse" is a revealing portrait of how men and society define masculinity, daring to pose the fundamental question that has been on the minds of men since the beginning of time: "Do I measure up to the next guy?"

Avi Hofmann directed a cast that included Shane Tanner, Ken Clement, Ryan Didato, Barry Tarrallo, and Todd Allen Durkin.

John Thomason reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
Seeing the play's superb mounting at Mosaic Theatre, it's clear that The Irish Curse is not an underground fluke. It's a lot richer than its setup, and its characters never fall into their seemingly prescribed stereotypes. They earn your sympathies and warm your heart, while making you laugh harder than any night in recent South Florida theater history.
Under guest director Avi Hoffman's sure hand, artistic director Richard Jay Simon couldn't have corralled a better ensemble. Ken Clement has a blast as Joseph. Barry Tarallo brings a poignant grace to Father Kevin, whose personal story is the play's most tragic. And Durkin is his usual stunning self — his character's breakdown is flawlessly performed, and his Irish accent is on point throughout.

This, of all shows, requires a cast this committed. It takes actors so comfortable with their nether regions that they are willing to inhabit these desperate, short-changed men with complete conviction. There's a certain bravery in accepting these parts, and Mosaic's quintet more than passes the test. Though I'm sure each and every one of them will be the first to report that, you know... it's only a play.
Mary Damiano reviewed for South Florida Gay News:
The Irish Curse is set in a church basement (another superb set by Douglas Grinn)...
Casella’s writing, combined with Avi Hoffman’s deft direction and the finely nuanced performances by the cast elevate the plot. The result is an intriguing night of theatre, no small feat by any means.
Michelle F. Solomon reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
...the “Irish Curse” refers to the stereotypical belief that Irish men have been shortchanged in regards to penis size. And while an entire play of five guys talking about their lack of proper equipment may sound fairly tedious, a great script by Martin Casella and standout performances and direction at the Mosaic Theatre more than overcompensate for possible, er, shortcomings.
...Hoffman largely does a stellar job in bringing this group together as a tight-knit ensemble. Each actor digs deep into his character, while never upstaging another, which in a “can-you-top-this” environment could easily be the case.
Roger Martin reviewed for MiamiArtzine:
The Irish Curse, written by Martin Casella, is a smart, sharp piece dealing with a sad subject in eighty flying minutes.  It's well directed and each of the five actors shines; no weak turns here.
Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
The cast,‭ ‬under the solid direction of Avi Hoffman,‭ ‬does what it can,‭ ‬but there is not enough here to hold interest for an hour-and-a-half.
Fashion Editor Rod Stafford Hagwood wrote for the Sun-Sentinel;
Often with stiletto-sharp insight, the play directed with a sure hand by Avi Hoffman is about junk; not debris, but a man's junk … and how it clutters the mind, crowding out everything else and paralyzing him, if the penis in question is small.
Never whiny and resisting formulas with every ounce of their being, the actors imbue "The Irish Curse" with wild streaks of emotion: one moment palpable tension-filled panic, the next the raunchiest humor outside of a pool hall, all resonating with men the way "The Vagina Monologues" did for women.
And if the revelations come with the regular timing of a subway schedule, well, all is forgiven when the acting is this good and the comedic delivery this laser-sharp. I defy you to find fault with the tricky accents or one false moment in this original story with smart dialogue — even when Casella stretches believability late in the show.
The Irish Curse plays at Mosaic Theatre Company through March 6, 2011.

1 comment:

  1. THE IRISH CURSE is selling out for good reason; it is simply an excellent production. Excellent acting, excellent design, and excellent direction. kudos!