Review: FLANAGAN'S WAKE at Allen Contemporary Theatre is a great time!

Flanagan's Wake

Directed by Eric Levy
Produced by Robyn Mead and Allen Contemporary Theatre

Reviewed by Juan M. Perez

Anyone who has ever stepped foot on stage as an actor will tell you that the last thing you want to do is have to make up something on the spot during a play. Usually, it means something has gone terribly wrong and you're having to work your way out of it. However, then comes along Flanagan's Wake at Allen Contemporary Theatre. This production, directed by Eric Levy, is part scripted and part improvisation, but 100% real non-stop hilarity. 

We've gathered at The Village Hall in Grapplin, County Sligo Ireland for the wake of our dearly departed Flanagan. The entire village comes to life with a roar as we're greeted by Brian Ballybunion and Father Damon Fitzgerald, soon everyone will join in the revelry. We're told wonderful stories of Flanagan, by his best mate, his fiancé, his Catholic Father, and of course his dear old Mum. This incredible cast created laughter, physical comedy, and songs that entertained the audience from start to finish.

Standouts Aaron Adair (Brian Ballybunion), Troy Murray (Mickey Finn), and Jeff York (Mayor Martin O'Doul) were great in their roles as they were able to navigate everyone through the show. The blueprint they're given is set, but so much of the story was left up to the audience and the cast's quick wit. Sara Jones (Fiona Finn) and Sara Parisa (Kathleen Mooney) more than held their own with these fellas as they were able to conjure up so much physical humor and word play, people had tears rolling from laughing so hard. Matthew Good (Father Damon Fitzgerald), Martin Mussey (Mother Flanagan), and M. Shane Hurst (Declan Faloon) helped to round out this ensemble with as much tenacity as the rest which really brought the energy to the wake

No show is complete without all the details behind the scenes, Produced by Robyn Mead, she leads an incredibly talented group of artists who've designed the lights, sound, costumes, and props respectively. Greg Cotton's lights helping to cue the audience when to jump in & Karen Askew's costumes were all superb, while Kasey Bush's scenic artistry really helped create the warm feeling that welcomed us in. 

You definitely do not want to miss this show, but more importantly when you go see it...HAVE FUN. Shout out suggestions, be prepared to let loose, enjoy the ride! This isn't the sit politely and quietly type show, this is the strap in, interact, and let loose type show. The cast needs you as much as you need them, this is a great time from start to finish and Flanagan's Wake is a great time! 

Please Take Your Places,
Juan M. Perez

Audience Rating: PG-13 
Running Time: Under 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission
Accessible Seating: Available
Hearing Devices Available: Not available
Sensory-friendly Showing: Not available
ASL Showing: Not available
Noises and Visuals to Prepare For: Some mild language, alcohol consumption, and sexual innuendos
Production Sound/Lighting Level: Comfortable