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Arts and Entertainment

Cat Lovers Don't Feck Around in 'Lieutenant of Inishmore' at Long Beach Playhouse

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Patrick Reiger and Matthew Collins in Lieutenant of Inishmore. (Photo courtesy of Long Beach Playhouse.)

Patrick Reiger and Matthew Collins in Lieutenant of Inishmore. (Photo courtesy of Long Beach Playhouse.)
The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Martin McDonagh's dark and blood-bathed comedy of errors, is currently playing at the Studio at Long Beach Playhouse. The show is a bit off the beaten path of Hollywood's Theatre Row, but it is tucked away in a surprisingly charming performance space furnished with an elegant bar, tastefully curated art gallery, and a live pianist banging out concerto movements in the lobby at every show. Under the direction of Patrick Williams, the production is well-rounded, entertaining, and easily culls delighted squeals from the audience.

Jannese Davidson plays female lead Mairead with plucky enthusiasm pitted against grounding interludes of a capella song. Davidson's robust and unpretentious voice diffuses hauntingly through the theatre, lingering just long enough to ease the audience through set changes. Patrick Reiger provides an adequate rendition of Padraic. Although his role demands more personality disordered derangement than is presented, Reiger shines during McDonagh's gruesome scenes with excellent comedic timing. Devon Armstrong and John Gilbert propel the show as Davey and Donny with their boisterous stage chemistry and fast-paced banter. Gilbert's gruff and twisted indulgence is endearing. Armstrong is a meticulous performer and delivers the best overall performance of the show.

Benny the cat plays Wee Thomas, muse and object of the Padraic's affection. The role is small, but show-stealing, mostly because Benny is like, you know, um, super-adorable and stuff. Benny's publicist says that the cat actor recently moved to Los Angeles to break into television and that he likes to keep in shape because the camera adds ten pound, which is a lot for a little kitty. Benny is a master of the the wide-eyed cautionary cat stare.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is playing at the Studio at Long Beach Playhouse through February 12, 2011. Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim Street, Long Beach, CA 90804. Tickets are available online at or by phone at 562-494-1014.

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