This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

30Mar/10

A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE

Carmichael (Christopher Walken) has been searching for his hand for forty-seven years in Martin McDonagh play

Carmichael (Christopher Walken) has been searching for his hand for forty-seven years in new Martin McDonagh play

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th St. between Broadway & Eighth Aves.
Through June 6 (March 25 performance reviewed)
Tickets: $61.50-$201.50
www.behandinginspokane.com

For forty-seven years, a craggy, cranky man named Carmichael (Christopher Walken) has been searching for the hand that was severed from his body when he was a teenager. His obsessive hunt has led him to a fleabag hotel and Troy (Anthony Mackie) and Marilyn (Zoe Kazan), two low-level drug dealers who claim they have the missing appendage. As the three of them attempt to reach some kind of an arrangement, the hotel receptionist, Mervyn (Sam Rockwell), inserts himself into the situation after hearing a gunshot, needing to share his very strange ideas about life with these three, potentially dangerous, strangers. Written by Martin McDonagh (THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE), A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE is a wry black comedy about a different kind of love and loss. The four-character cast is outstanding, led by Walken’s sly, brooding racist who has lost all his morals in his endless, insane quest to get back what was taken from him; Walken is particularly funny during several phone conversations he has with his mother. Mackie (THE HURT LOCKER) and Kazan (THE EXPLODING GIRL) are solid as a none-too-smart couple who are in way over the heads, but the play is anchored by Rockwell, who gives a complex, nuanced performance as the hotel employee who had wanted so much more out of what has become his miserable little life; he’s especially effective during a long monologue addressed directly at the audience, in front of the ragged curtain, that, in other hands, could have been gimmicky and disastrous. A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE might fall a notch or two below his previous work, which also includes THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN and THE PILLOWMAN, but McDonagh still manages to pull off a cool ninety-minute tale that deserves more than the sound of one hand clapping.

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