A Behanding in Spokane By Martin McDonagh Directed by Jeremy Wood Howler’s Theatre presenting at Art’s Sake Studio Winter Park, FL
Carmichael (Scott Browning) lost his hand. Something to do with redneck hillbillies and a train outside of Spokane. The details of this country love song are fuzzy, but he did see his hand waving as it went over the next hill and he wants it back if only for sentiment. Tonight might be his lucky night; Toby (Aaron Smalls) and Marilyn (Jamie-Lyn Markos) offer their spare hand for $500 even if it’s not racially correct. Maybe Marilyn brought the wrong one, and Carmichael is concerned the one they forgot back home matches his DNA. His are typical private party sales concerns all collectors have – authenticity, provenance and whether this hand reads “Hate” across the knuckles all influence his final decision. He ties up the sellers, sets a candle in a gas can, and takes off to do market research while the speed freak hotel clerk (Tony Demil) visits with the couple. Will the deal go down? Will the hotel burn quickly? Will anyone in the audience get shot?
“Behanding” mixes a gruesome comedy with foul language and insane emotions and while I’m never sure what the author is trying to say, I know I’m just barely safe huddling outside the 4th wall. Browning does what he does best; he’s the short tempered psycho about to explode. Marilyn isn’t too bright but she nearly flirts the desk clerk into releasing her. Toby knows he slipped up, and seems shocked to find that Carmichael isn’t just dealing with him. Craziest of all is the clerk, he gets whole scene of body building and Red Bull chugging, and while he might not have a gun, he might be even more deadly than Carmichael. Intense and edgy, this isn’t for everyone and while the director hoped for some bad press to get out and help sell the show, I won’t give it. See this on its merits, and remember – it starts at 10 for a DAMN GOOD REASON.