Theatre Review: Outside Mullingar at George Street Playhouse

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The George Street Playhouse has a nice habit of bringing current plays to our area just after the fanfare of the debut productions has quieted a bit.

What the audience gets is an intimate and focused production that brings them in very close.  Outside Mullingar is no exception.

The George Street Playhouse, located in the center of the city's bustling theatre district, last night presented their take on John Patrick Shanley’s Broadway success.

Owning both commercial and artistic achievement, with a Pulitzer, a Tony and an Oscar, Shanley is easily the most celebrated playwright in America.

Well-directed by longtime George Street Playhouse fixture David Saint, Outside Mullingar takes us to the neighboring Reilly and Muldoon farms in rural Ireland.

After the funeral of his friendly rival and neighbor, aging Tony Reilly, brilliantly played by noted actor David Shram, is worried about the future of his jilted and eccentric bachelor son Anthony and the family’s legacy farm.

Tony lays down plans to separate his son from his piece of the old sod.  The problem is his neighbor, Rose Muldoon, solidly played with great comic timing by Ellen McLaughlin, holds an easement on the Reilly farm.

Muldoon loves Anthony from afar, and to keep Anthony from leaving, she refuses to sell it back to the Riellys.

In one of the most touching and intimate scenes between a father and his son this reviewer has seen, Tony is out of options and on his deathbed.

After relieving his conscience to his son and caregiver, Tony goes to his rewards confident that Anthony, tenderly played by John Bolger, has the right stuff to uphold the family farm.

Some years later, after the passing of her mother Aoife, also well played by Patricia Connelly, Rose finds hereself alone in the world initiates contact with the aloof Anthony.

In Rose's kitchen, these two unrequited lovers realize they’ve only been kept apart by circumstances. After some funny and tender moments, these two lonely individuals find the happiness that they knew from childhood and could share with each other.

Outside Mullingar was top-notch.  Aside from the stalwart performances by four talented actors and solid direction, one might be surprised to learn this well-composed stage work, which relied on Irish Syntax, was actually written by a guy from the Bronx.

Take advantage of one of our area’s best cultural resources and see this highly-recommended play.  Outside Mullingar runs until November 2.  Tickets can be purchased at the GSP box office or online at http://www.georgestreetplayhouse.org.