Chicago Theatre Review
‘A Behanding in Spokane’ at Profiles: Fantastically Far-fetched
By Devlyn Camp
The entire premise of Martin McDonagh’s 2010 play A Behanding in Spokane is absolutely absurd. You should see it. After a vague incident in which a train sliced his soon-to-be-stolen hand away, Carmichael has dedicated his life to recovering the piece. Knowing completely that his hand will not be functional, but still wanting it, he collects the body parts he finds and moves on to continue to search for his own. When a “hand deal” with a couple pot dealers goes bad, the play begins.
A black comedy, Behanding is dashed with intelligent comebacks from the sarcastic characters, particularly the leading one-handed man (Darrell W. Cox). However ridiculous his obsession, looking in from the outside the audience can really get a kick out of the situation. The Broadway production last year starred Christopher Walken in the lead. I must wonder if this original cast had the tale played out a bit better comically, and not so…heavy handed (pun!). Throughout this Chicago premiere production, I couldn’t help but think how higher the highs could have been and how lower the lows. Although Profiles put on a decent show, the acting could use more. The performances become mediocre when the company takes the script too seriously. In such an outrageously comic situation, characters need much less depth for the jokes to roll. The situation at hand (he he) is the more important aspect of the scene, not so much the realism of the drama. Those pot dealers (Sara Greenfield and Levenix Riddle) get it right more so than the hand wrangler.
Even with doubts of reaching the Walken-and-company level of comedy, Rick Snyder’s production is still quite funny and just as ridiculous. In the end, you won’t be able to help but stand up and give the guy a hand. (Couldn’t resist it.)
A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE
Now through December 4th
Tickets $35-40, available at profilestheatre.org
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