Theater: A Behanding in Spokane | Theater | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
We need your help.

Newspapers and media companies nationwide are closing or suffering mass layoffs since the coronavirus impacted all of us starting in March. City Weekly's entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups--in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events--which are the industries most affected by new coronavirus regulations.

Our industry is not healthy. Yet, City Weekly has continued publishing thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Utah needs independent journalism more than ever, and we're asking for your continued support of our editorial voice. We are fighting for you and all the people and businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.

You can help by making a one-time or recurring donation on PressBackers.com, which directs you to our Galena Fund 501(c)(3) non-profit, a resource dedicated to help fund local journalism. It is never too late. It is never too little. Thank you. DONATE

Culture » Theater

Theater: A Behanding in Spokane

Dark premise with "bitingly funny execution"

by

1 comment
art17493.jpg

Martin McDonagh has a particular flavor as a writer, even if his work sometimes feels clearly beholden to both David Mamet and Quentin Tarantino. It’s not every work of art, after all, that could count a bounteous supply of severed human hands as a significant prop and still manage to wrestle huge laughs out of the material.

That mix of dark-bordering-on-gruesome premise and bitingly funny execution is on display in A Behanding in Spokane, and in The Hive Theatre Company’s production. Jeffrey Owen plays Carmichael, a hard-case guy waiting in a hotel room for the possible end to his 27-year quest to recover his own left hand, cut off years ago by a “bunch of hillbillies.” The couple who have promised Carmichael his hand, however—small-time drug dealers Toby (Lonzo Liggins) and Marilyn (Tiffany A. Greathouse)—might just have picked the wrong guy to try to con. And they all might have picked the wrong seedy motel for the deal, given the frequent interruptions by the dimwitted clerk (Jared Greathouse).

Director Sam C. McGinnis V guides his solid cast through the material with brisk pacing, and a firm handle on the often rat-a-tat dialogue. Liggins turns in a particularly standout performance, given Toby’s emotional volatility and the need to blast off strings of 12-letter epithets without taking a breath, while Owen finds a funky balance between Carmichael’s matter-of-fact menace and his very human frustrations with phone calls from his mother.

Yet, the star here is clearly McDonagh’s text, which mixes gaspingly hilarious takes on racism with sharp undercutting of the text’s tough-guy characters. McDonagh has a way of incorporating action verging on insanity into his stories in a way that never feels out of control. And even if there’s nothing profound to be gleaned from the outcome, as empty theatrical calories go, it’s ferociously entertaining.

THE HIVE THEATRE COMPANY: A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE
Sugar Space
616 E. Wilmington Ave. (2190 South)
801-558-2556
May 10-11
8 p.m.
$12
TheHiveTheatre.blogspot.com

Tags