Saturday, February 09, 2008

Gem of a Play

Dolly West's Kitchen

by Frank McGuinness

TimeLine Theatre Company has produced a gem of a play from the pen of the Irish playwright Frank McGuinness. His play presents questions of national, sexual and personal identity within the framework of Irish Catholic traditions. Set during the second world war, the joy and sadness of Dolly, her family and friends who join her from over the seas permeate her kitchen centered in a neutral Ireland. There is nothing neutral about the feelings of the family from the mother toward her daughters and son to the tangled desires that are unveiled during the course of the evening. These form the center of this dramatic comedy which depicts with sensitive humanity a sense of humor, life and death. Both Kat McDonnell (Dolly) and Kathleen Ruhl (her mother Rima) stand out among an excellent cast. The direction was taut and effective; while I particularly enjoyed the music, both during the play and the interludes. You do not need a bit of Irish blood to respond to this moving play.

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