Behanding in Spokane – Keegan Theatre


While it is late in the all to brief run of Keegan Theatre’s production of Martin McDonagh’s “A Behanding in Spokane” if you have time to take it in before it closes this weekend it is well worth the time.  A black comedy that is more absurd than dark.  While the driving plot is of a man searching for his long removed hand, the real propeller for the show is the individual interactions of the characters in this absurd situation.  The four characters are Carmichael, a haggard looking one-handed racist searching for his hand after it was removed 27 years earlier; Toby and Marilyn, an interracial couple who try to con the man into purchasing a hand that clearly isn’t his; and Mervyn, a quirky hotel receptionist who keeps interjecting himself into the situation.    Of course when you try to sell a man who has been searching for his hand for 27 years a hand that never belonged to him there will be consequences.   And it was the ensuing interactions that carried the show.  Whether it was Toby trying to talk his way out of the hotel room by trying to convince Carmichael he had another hand to sell, while Marilyn is unwittingly shooting holes in his fabricated story.  Or Mervyn not quite willing to help Toby and Marilyn while they are handcuffed to a radiator with a candle burning in a gas tank on the other side of the hotel room.  That doesn’t even touch on the 70 year old up a tree trying to get a balloon, the death of a beloved monkey, or a game of block the severed hands.  Yeah, it truly was an absurd and macabre story, but well worth the time.

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