BWW Review: THE GOOD THIEF at Ground Up And Rising
Eighty Minute Chops
There's a Dublin thug, a walking knuckle duster with an accent straight from Sheriff Street, on stage. He's an unshaven, burly enforcer, good for kicking ribs and a touch of homicide. It's a living. His boss has taken his girlfriend, Greta, who's happily screwing the boss and anyone else who asks. The back alley is the position and location of choice. He cares about Greta, who wouldn't? But a fig for anything else? Nah. He's built that way. He has another shot of whiskey, another drag on another ciggie and starts talking. He's The Narrator, alone on stage in Ground Up and Rising's production of THE GOOD THIEF.
Irish playwright Conor McPherson's THE GOOD THIEF is a tough piece. It's not for any hanky sniffer reaching for the smelling salts. The language is foul, the pictures painted bloody. But it's brutality is leavened by a touch of rose petals and peace. And that's a good thing.
He speaks quietly about Greta and the things his boss is doing to her and how his boss sent him out to put the frighteners on a rival who owes him money. He's not going to hurt the guy, not really, but he carries a sawn off shot gun under his coat and a pistol in his belt at the back. Just in case.
He knocks, the door opens, and the violence explodes. Beatings, gun shots and spraying blood. He kills, but he survives. With his intended victim's wife and young daughter. They flee the house together. From the police, rival gangsters, his own gang. The three travel across Ireland, seeking help, and the wife is revealed and the touch of the little girl's hand and breath begin their subtle changes on the man who would kick another to death without thought or remorse.
Finally an old friend helps with a place to stay, an almost heaven in the Irish countryside.
And the play continues.
Despite the blood, the sex, the graphic tales, Conor McPherson has written a quiet piece. His poetry is in the details and from this Weiner makes his man almost likeable, his delivery unemotional, as if telling his terrible tales to friends over a beer or two, his regret and pain never quite revealed.
THE GOOD THIEF is McPherson's first produced play, staged in Ireland in 1994. Since then he's gained renown with "The Weir", "The Seafarer", "Shining City", and "Port Authority."
Ground Up and Rising artistic director Collin Carmouze, has been with the company for ten years and each piece he's directed has been outstanding.THE GOOD THIEF is no exception.
If theatre is your drug of choice, see this. It's playing in South Miami and then moving to Miami Beach. And Ground Up and Rising's tickets are a steal.
Running through August 20 at the Lab Theater, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 Street, Miami. 786-573-5300 http://www.groundupandrising.org
THE GOOD THIEF then moves to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, playing August 25, 26, 27. 2000 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach. 305-673-7256 https://www.mbgarden.org/calendar?page= 1
Photo of Gregg Weiner by Helena Carmouze/Provoke Photography.