REVIEW: ‘A Behanding in Spokane’

Irish playwright Martin McDonagh wrote his series of violent, dark comedies — The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Lonesome West, A Skull in Connemara, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Pillowman in a fit of inspiration mostly in 1996 and ’97, and bleeding into 2003. Since then, he’s concentrated on film work, winning an Oscar for live action short (Six Shooter), a nomination for writing In Bruges and his putting out his latest, 7 Psychopaths.

Notice a pattern, there?

His latest entree into the theater world is also his only American-set play: A Behanding in Spokane, currently at the Bryant Hall space in the Kalita Humphreys complex, courtesy of Second Thought Theatre. In its tense, brooding, hilariously strange 85 minutes, he uses the “N” word as if he thinks he’s Tarantino, sprays the audience with severed body parts and chains a nubile young woman and a black man up as if this was some barely-legal, racist snuff film.

It’s great.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones