BWW Reviews: Book-It's I AM OF IRELAND Shares a Bit of Irish Heart
To launch their 25th season Book-It Repertory Theatre has dusted off one of their earlier gems. And in doing so have given us a charming and lovely bit of Ireland heritage to take home with us.
It's not actually one story but five with pieces from St. John Ervine, Frank O'Connor, Paul Vincent Carroll, Mary Lavin and John B. Keane and all strung together with music and poetry with that distinctive Irish flair. The night ranges from heartwarming tales of birth and death to hilarious looks into childhood and the love of the drink. And all presented with talent and grace from the stunning ensemble of performers (Brian Gunter, Suzy Hunt, Edd Key, David Anthony Lewis, Joey Shaw, Allison Standley and Kayla Walker).
The show itself is a beautiful slice of Irish life as it was as told through the adaptation and direction of Stephanie Shine. Shine manages to keep the ensemble and the pace of the show clipping along so as never to have a dead or down moment in the evening. Plus the enthusiasm for the culture and the tone shows through the performances and makes for a truly delightful evening.
Every single member of the ensemble has their moment to shine and each takes it on with gusto while still remaining a tight group. Gunter goes seamlessly from character to character with seeming ease and was engaging throughout. Hunt takes on the more motherly roles and is quite powerful in all. Key manages the lighter side and more comedic characters and has quite an infectious delivery with his musical numbers. Lewis's beleaguered father of the drunken son that is Walker showed off both their comedic chops. Shaw was absolutely adorable as the bragging young boy and then switched to caring father on a dime. And Standley brings tons of heart and some killer pipes to her roles and starts off the show with a pitch perfect tone.
The show is just one of those lovely slices of theater that gives you a sweet little satisfied sigh of contentment at the end that you can carry all the way home. And since that feeling did follow me all the way home and beyond I give "I Am of Ireland" a YAY with my three letter rating system. Just an exquisite piece of the Emerald Isle.
"I Am of Ireland" from Book-It Repertory Theatre performs at the Center Theatre at the Armory through October 12th. For tickets or information contact the Book-It box office at 206-216-0833 or visit them online at www.book-it.org.