HOOKED (Inis Nua): A pub play in a pub

Rachel Brodeur and Corinna Burns in HOOKED. Photo by Katie Reing.
Rachel Brodeur and Corinna Burns in HOOKED. Photo by Katie Reing.

Inis Nua’s season opener is a dark comedic tale of life in a small Irish village. It’s performed at the upstairs of a pub (Fergie’s), which suits the action of the play perfectly, and gives one the rare opportunity to share a drinking camaraderie with a play’s characters.

The play unfolds with a series of monologues that eventually veer into dialogues, as Mary (Corinna Burns), Tom (Charlie Delmarcelle), and Lydia (Rachel Brodeur) take turns sharing their stories. Mary and Tom got married young after an accidental pregnancy, and they both have their own dirty secrets they have managed to happily ignore so far. But when the beautiful Lydia moves to town with secrets of her own, she brings out resentments and longings as well as secrets.

On a script level, HOOKED is a typical pub play. It’s contained, a little quirky, capable of regular laughs, and revolves in the sphere of relationship drama, drinking and the occasional dirty joke. It doesn’t really deliver on the promise of energy nor is its dry humor exceptionally clever, but it functions well with a pint of beer and friends.

Despite the occasional lapses in dialect, the acting in HOOKED elevates the material, particularly the comedy. Corinna Burns brings out the petty and bitter as well as the vulnerable and hurt in her character; Charlie Delmarcelle delivers a fine portrayal of an admirable average fellow with a comedically jolly attitude to his dirty little secret and his abusive, alcoholic wife. Lydia is perhaps the most tragic character as well as the outsider observer and representative of the audience in the in-bred insanity of the village, and Rachel Brodeur delivers all that with confident competence.

HOOKED is entertaining for anyone looking for a fun and a little different night at the pub, or just an excuse to spend the night at the pub. [Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street] October 7-25, 2015; inisnuatheatre.org.

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