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Two by Synge: The Tinker's Wedding and In The Shadow of the Glen

Theatre Review by David Hurst - April 24, 2022

John Keating, Jo Kinsella, Sean Gormley, and Terry Donnelly
in The Tinker's Wedding

Photo by Carol Rosegg
If you're looking for a brief diversion on a spring evening you'll be in good hands with the Irish Repertory Theatre's charming production of Two by Synge in their intimate W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre. Consisting of The Tinker's Wedding (1908) and In The Shadow of the Glen (1903), two short one-acts written by John Millington Synge and directed by the Artistic Director Charlotte Moore, Two by Synge is an interesting trifle of rarely produced short plays.

In The Tinker's Wedding, Sarah Casey (Jo Kinsella) wants a priest (Sean Gormley) to marry her to the tinker Michael Byrne (John Keating). But Michael's mother, Mary Byrne (Terry Donnelly), has other ideas. Mary steals a tin pot, which Sarah has promised to the priest as part of the wedding payment, in order to purchase a pint. On the wedding day, when the priest can't be paid, Sarah takes it out on Mary and the priest, and we're left to wonder who's more corrupt–the couple wanting to marry or the priest who won't do his job.

In The Shadow Of The Glen finds a tramp (John Keating) seeking shelter during a raging storm. He happens upon the cottage of Dan Burke (Sean Gormley) and his young wife Nora (Jo Kinsella). But Dan is laid out in bed, seemingly dead, and Nora tells the tramp that Dan told her that no one is to touch him. After some drinks and some stories, Nora goes to get her young neighbor, Micheal Dara (Ciaran Bowling), and it becomes clear there's more going on with Nora and Micheal than meets the eye.

The cast are pros and deliver Synge's biting dialogue with just the right amount of blarney and pathos, while Moore keeps the action moving with crisp, simple direction over the course of the two one-act's 75-minute running time. The physical production, with set design by Daniel Geggatt, costume design by David Toser, and lighting by Michael O'Connor, is especially strong for a show in the Rep's downstairs studio space.

Two by Synge: The Tinker's Wedding and In The Shadow of the Glen
Through May 22, 2022
Irish Repertory Theatre
W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street. (Between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue)
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