Friday, March 11, 2011

Word 4 Word "The Islanders": ☼ ☼ ☼

You won't get to see Word 4 Word's presentation of Andrew Sean Greer's "The Islanders" unless you hurry to Z Space this weekend. The short run is a tune up for the company as they head off to France. Sheila Balter directs the story of friendship between two American women in their forties as they travel through the countryside of Ireland.

Nancy Shelby is Maddy, the more introspective one, and Stephanie Hunt is Cat, her loquacious and slightly loony old friend. We learn about them both, Cat behind the wheel and Maddy reading the guidebook, each somewhat irritated by the other, until the final incident when Maddy's life is in danger and Cat blows the whistle.

As always, Word 4 Word ensembles are every bit as entertaining as the main characters, with Paul Finocchiaro, Delia MacDougall and Joel Mullenix singing Irish songs, pretending to be trees, rocks and bandits, while illustrating each bit of Greer's story exposition with over-the-top antics. This company is such a pleasure to watch as they go about their work as effortlessly as if they and the audience were all drinking beer in a local pub.

But there's a lot of Andrea Weber's choreography going on that you don't notice, and Joshua Raoul Brody's sound design helps keep the show flowing. Ms. McDougall has a beautiful Irish voice -- we could use more songs from her and Mr. Finocchiaro.

Bon chance, mes amis. Do they speak English in France? Or Ireland, for that matter?


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Word 4 Word's "The Islanders" Three Stars. It's a short story -- the presentation lasts only one hour, including songs at the start -- but a sweet one. We love it when "unceremoniously, the video presentation ends." We've all been there. Our question is: do the Irish ever sing about anything except liquor, lost love and sadness, in reverse order?

"Word 4 Word "The Islanders"
Z Space Theater
450 Florida Street, San Francisco
Through Mar 12 ONLY

1 comment:

jj-aka-pp said...

The Irish sing about it A LOT
and I KNOW!