“Mulligan’s Wake”: A Mulligan Stew of Hilarity

It was a very special reading of a new play by noted author, Don Flynn. And the play starred an All-Lambs cast including Candy Benge, Ryan Keating, Ginny Dustin, Kathy Kelleher, Peter Kingsley, Vivienne Gilbert, Helen Klass, Scott Glascock, and Roseann Sheridan, with smooth scene-to-scene narration from Amanda Fekety. Thus, it seemed very fitting that the reading took place at New York’s famed Lambs Club on May 9, 2007, for that was the 130th anniversary of the historic May 9th in 1877 when The Lambs was first incorporated.

The play, a very Irish comedy titled “Mulligan’s Wake,” featured the kind of “good clean fun” that New York theatre has not seen enough of in recent seasons. Set in the working class neighborhood of Woodside, in the New York City borough of Queens, the action takes place in the home of the Mulligans and the Rileys. The feisty family matriarch, Mother Mulligan (Dustin) has just received the devastating news that her son, Joe (Glascock), has died in Chicago. Joe’s longtime girlfriend, Lorna (Sheridan) is expected to arrive at the Woodside address momentarily, with the body of the deceased in tow for “Mulligan‘s Wake.” Those who may think this is too grim a circumstance to yield humor are probably not familiar with the witty twists and turns that so often emanate from the pen of author, Flynn. Here he gives us a deliciously nutty cast of characters that includes the genial Pat Riley (Kingsley), his about-to-be-married son, Tim (Keating), Tim’s perky, though increasingly apprehensive fiancée, Jane (Benge) and the three bickering Mulligan sisters, sharp-tongued Agnes (Kelleher), the meticulous May (Gilbert), and the sullen Sissie (Klass).

The fun really gets rolling when Tim innocently brings his blue-blooded bride-to-be home to meet his oddball family on this very inauspicious occasion. Jane suddenly finds herself meeting her future in-laws in the midst of preparations for a wake. Why didn’t Neil Simon think of this? At any rate, judging from the abundant belly laughs that punctuated the room during this initial invited audience test run, along with the shouts of “Author! Author!” that followed the performance, Flynn has encouraging possibilities for future success with his very amusing “Mulligan’s Wake.”

About The People's Critic

David Dow Bentley III, writes columns about the performing arts which are featured in newspapers from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast. A member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), The International Theatre Critics Association, and America's oldest theatrical club, The Lambs, he also had long service as the editor of The Lambs' Script magazine. Mr. Bentley may be contacted via e-mail at ThePeoplesCritic3@gmail.com.
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