Theater Review: “The Luck of the Irish”
Part of the charm of Kirsten Greenidge’s “The Luck of the Irish” is the obvious love and respect the playwright has for the people who served as the inspiration for its characters. Greenidge’s finest work to date boasts rich, fundamentally flawed but wonderfully human characters not unlike those who comprise August Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle.”
The tale of an African-Ame-rican family who “ghost-buy” a home in a white neighborhood is a funny, sad and ultimately poignant slice of humanity grappling with the desire to belong. Greenidge nicely weaves the story of two families and one home together by interspersing scenes from the 1950s and early 2000s into an engaging narrative.
What makes it work is the chemistry (both good and bad) of the families who ultimately battle for the property rights.
Marianna Bassham delivers a stunning turn as perennially-jilted, bitter Boston Irish housewife. Her accent is so perfect it makes you question equally impressive Nancy Carroll’s Irish accent while portraying the same woman 50 years and a whole lot of heartache later.
Shalita Grant is delightful as the carefree Nessa Charles while Francesca Choy-Kee is perfectly anguished as her uptight big sister struggling with her own issues around fitting in. Nikkole Salter’s portrayal their grandmother is so heartfelt that she almost single-handedly imbues the house with enough warmth and love to make it worth all the trouble.
Director Melia Bensussen’s impeccable attention to detail makes this production a delight to watch. James Noone’s beautiful set, Mariann Verheyen’s authentic costumes, Justin Townsend’s flawlessly executed lighting and the impressive sound of David Remdios all conspire to create a truly touching piece of theater.