We are big fans of Mr. McDonagh’s work, so when I got an email a few weeks back offering discount tickets to his recently opened play, A Behanding in Spokane, we had to go. The only thing I knew about the play going in was that it was a dark comedy; as if it could be anything else. Having seen both The Pillowman and The Lieutenant of Inishmore in person, I had a good idea of how “dark” of a play it may really be.
The play was being performed at the Schoenfeld Theatre, a rather intimate venue, on W. 45th Street between 8th Avenue and Broadway. We had decent aisle seats about 15 rows from the stage, but I don’ t think there would have been a bad seat in the house. The play revolved around a man who was searching for his missing hand (forcefully removed from his body when he was a boy), a hotel “receptionist”, and two misguided pot dealers. In the typical McDonagh fashion, the dialogue is what made the play. Interestingly enough, I didn’t find it nearly as dark as his previous works, and not quite as funny as The Lieutenant of Inishmore. With that said, Christopher Walken was a perfect casting choice for Carmichael, the man in search of his missing hand. He was creepy, in the way that Christopher Walken can only be, yet damn funny. I think the star of the show however was Anthony Mackie, who had some incredibly fast paced lines that were truly hilarious and well acted. Sam Rockwell’s monologue was another one of my favorite parts of the show as well. All in all, this was a very entertaining show and I am so glad we got to see it within the first few weeks of its opening. Was it McDonagh’s masterpiece? No. But if he continues to produce works of this caliber for the rest of his life, I will be a happy (and entertained) old man.