Top: Abby Braune & Bryce Woodard, bottom: Ke’Leb Beauchamp & Rena Cherry Brown in A Behanding in Spokane. Photo courtesy LRC
A Behanding in Spokane
By Martin McDonagh
Directed by Angela Miller
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2016 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Rough, gritty and unapologetic…these words describe Martin McDonagh’s comedy A Behanding in Spokane. Louisville Repertory Company’s current production of the piece is a ridiculous thrill ride of preposterous pursuits and capers. Set in an inner city hotel room, the production allows itself to be as grungy as possible while leaving room for laughs and top-notch comedic performances.
An absurdist comedy at its best, in Behanding, LRC has crafted a production that throws everything it has at its audience with reckless abandon. Rena Cherry Brown as Carmichael is a multi-faceted performance of a thuggish sociopath on the hunt for revenge. Brown builds up a brutish exterior with an air of mystery about how her character loses her hand. Wrapped in a black trench coat and waving a gun to and fro, Brown is a wannabe villain with a secret that is easily deconstructed by the most unassuming of sources.
Abby Braune and Ke’Lab Beauchamp play Marilyn and Toby, a couple of hapless weed dealers who stumble into Carmichael’s quest for hands. Chained to a radiator for the majority of the play, these actors take full advantage of any and all bits of physical comedy at their disposal, whether it’s Braun stretching and reaching for shoes on the stage, or Beauchamp’s dry delivery as he continues to bleed from a massive head wound. Braune and Beauchamp work well together as they lie about storing hands on top of refrigerators but, their discovery of Carmichael’s collection of hands is their boldest, and most hilarious moment in the play.
Bryce Woodard rounds out the cast as the dimwitted, meddling receptionist, Mervyn. Woodard gives a stellar performance as the bored and unappreciated front desk lackey. There is not a single beat skipped nor moment missed within Mervyn’s streamlined speech about drunkenly pestering zoo animals. Woodard gives a precise, well-executed delivery full of comedic twists and turns.
With its slurs and violence, A Behanding in Spokane isn’t for the faint of heart, but don’t let that stop you from seeing this show. With the Humana Festival and an assortment of other shows playing in the area, this is one that stands apart from the others and should not be missed.
A Behanding in Spokane
March 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 at 7:30pm
March 13 & 20 at 6:30pm
Louisville Repertory Company
The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for Leo Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!