Thursday, February 23, 2017

Boston Playwrights' Theatre Presents "The Honey Trap" by Leo McGann - Through February 26th

'Tis the season for Irish playwrights to challenge and to delight Boston audiences. ArtsEmerson has given us the Druid Theatre Company's stellar production of Martin McDonagh's "The Beauty Queen of Leenane." A few miles down Commonwealth Avenue from the Theater District, Boston Playwrights' Theatre takes us to Ulster for "The Honey Trap," a new play by Leo McGann.

I had a strong personal visceral reaction this play and its subject matter - The Troubles and their aftermath. I first visited Northern Ireland and Belfast in the summer of 1968, when the Rev. Ian Paisley was spouting his sectarian venom that helped to inflame passions and violence between Protestant and Catholic neighbors. "The Honey Trap" revisits those troubled times, and toggles between the height of the conflict in 1979 and then forward in time a few decades to see what has become of some of the characters whose lives were forever changed by the events that happened one night in a Belfast pub.

Two off-duty British soldiers are sharing a pint in a pub when two Irish lasses (Maggie Markham and Grace Georgiadis) begin to flirt with them. One thing leads to another, and Bobby (Ben Swimmer) goes home with them, while Dave (Conrad Sundqvist-Olmos) returns to the barracks. Bobby was killed that night by IRA assassins, and Dave spends the next several decades trying to come to grips with the decisions that he and Bobby made that night. The older Dave (Barlow Adamson) eventually brings himself to do some deep research, and tracks down one of the young women who had set the "honey trap" that led to Bobby's death. She now calls herself "Sonia" (Maureen Keiller) and runs a small coffee shop. Sarah Whelan rounds out this excellent cast in the role of Kirsty.

Conrad Sundqvist-Olmos as Young Dave
Ben Swimmer as Bobby
The Honey Trap" by Leo McGann
Boston Playwrights' Theatre
Through February 26th

In a reversal of the ploy that the young women had used in 1979, Dave lures Sonia into a relationship, and then springs the trap, revealing who he really is. He pulls a gun, and tension reaches a fever pitch. The acting in this pivotal scene by Ms. Keiller and Mr. Barlow is powerful and cathartic. There is a memorable moment in this scene that evokes memories of the encounter in "Goodwill Hunting" between Robin Williams' character of professor and Matt Damon's character of his struggling young student. Also standing out in this cast are Mr. Swimmer as Bobby and Mr. Sundqvist-Olmos as young Dave.

Maureen Keiller as Sonia
Barlow Adamson as Dave
"The Honey Trap" by Leo McGann
Boston Playwrights' Theatre
Through February 26th
This cast is aided by strong direction from Adam Kassim, Scenic Design by Jeffrey Petersen, Sound Design by J Jumbelic, Lighting Design by Evey Connerty-Marin and Costume Design by Stephanie K. Brownell.

Although the action of the play is specific to the Ulster Troubles and their aftermath, the themes of revenge, regret, and reliving past decisions are universal.

This excellent new play runs through this Sunday, February 26th at Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Do not miss it.

Boston Playwrights' Theatre Website



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