By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
In the New York production, Carmichael was played by Christopher Walken. It's a role designed for an idiosyncratic actor, and it fits Van Quattro like one made-to-order glove. He understands the peculiarities of McDonagh's dialogue, with its strange pauses and strings of obscenities. Quattro, so great in last season's Superior Donuts at Theatre Three, even has to carry on a long phone call in this play, as Carmichael works up a throbbing rage at his 90-year-old mother for poking around in his porn collection back home. The phone call is a hacky trope in the theater but Quattro gives this one as many colors as a soliloquy from Hamlet. You actually feel sorry for Carmichael during it and start to understand why he finds reasons to travel.
Drew Wall is ideal for Mervyn, a role played by Sam Rockwell in New York. Wall is a handsomer, younger version of Rockwell. And a better actor in this or any play. He also designed and built the set, which is so sad-motel authentic, you worry about bedbugs.
Jeremiah and Nash have the toughest roles, attached by their wrists to those pipes, movements limited to how far they can stretch their limbs. Nash bears a strong resemblance to Zooey Kazan, who did the part on Broadway, and she's a snarling little firecracker. (And will have the STT stage to herself soon in the one-woman My Name Is Rachel Corrie.)
A Behanding in Spokane
Continues through January 26 at Bryant Hall (next to Kalita Humphreys Theater), 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Call 866-811-4111 or visit secondthoughttheatre.com.
In a dark play like this, the only letdown is the lighting by Kenneth Farnsworth, which is too bright to convey noirish shadows in such a skeevy motel setting.
For everything else, a big hand. Two.