BWW Review: AN IRISH CAROL at Keegan Theatre
Keegan Theatre's production of "An Irish Carol" by Matthew J.Keenan holds all the charm and heart of the original Dickens tale, except this time with a tad more profanity, and booze. A staple tradition of the DC theatre scene, "An Irish Carol" is in its 9th annual production for Keegan and hasn't lost any bit of vitality or its classic Irish wit.
The story is a modern Irish twist on Charles Dickens holiday classic "A Christmas Carol", except with the F word...a lot. Cheap bar owner, David is open for Christmas Eve as business is meager and is joined by old friends, current and former employees, some family, and someone he banished to his past as they all attempt to up his Christmas spirit, and in turn his spirit for life.
The cast is fronted by Kevin Adams as David, the Scrooge personality. Adams's performance as a miserly, griping pub owner was entirely believable. He embodied the penny-pincher skillfully and his deadpan was absolute gold. He is joined by his new Polish bartender, Bartek, played by Josh Adams. Adams' performance was heartfelt, either eliciting a chorus of laughter or "awws".
Followed by Dave Jourdan who plays sort of friend to David and a frequent visitor to his pub, Jim. And another friend Frank, played by Timothy Hayes Lynch, plays a similar role as Jim, except with more dirty jokes. These two were the perfect foils to Adam's David. Both consistently armed with a clever quip or a funny story, their performances really make you want to believe in the potential David possesses.
David's brother Michael also pays a visit to the pub, performed by Mike Kozemchak, who again really makes a case for the potential of David's character, but he even gets the shaft. The next visitors to the pub are former employee Simon, performed by Josh Sticklin, and his new fiancee, Anna, performed by Jessie Power. Sticklin's performance is very interesting as he creates this amazing parallel between himself and a young David, investing himself entirely into his work and maybe occasionally neglect Anna. Power gives such a strong performance, playing the peacemaker and embodying all the patience and tact that comes with being a special-needs professional.
The cast is rounded out with Mick Tinder as Richard, David's ex best friend and widow to David's ex fiancee. Tinder created such an interesting character, one who is apprehensive but also very unwavering in why he has returned to the pub after all these years. He has this incredibly moving moment where he speaks to David about love and choosing happiness and everyone in the theatre sort of silently took in the sentiment.
Another aspect of the show I enjoyed immensely was the set design, also done by the playwright, Matthew J. Keenan. Keenan did an excellent job recreating your run of the mill, local Irish pub on-stage in a D.C. theatre. It housed many trinkets and delightful set dressing, and even featured a working tap!
The story is far more touching than I expected it to be, with a moral we've heard a hundred times, but it somehow seemed new. The show and its performers did an excellent job delivering a story we didn't know we needed to hear again, but are glad we did.
An Irish Carol runs through December 31st at Keegan Theatre. For ticket info, visit https://keegantheatre.com/portfolio-item/an-irish-carol-2019/#boxoffice.