A Behanding in Spokane
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILER ALERTS!!
So get this, I went to a play on Thursday night… and I’m still in Miami! Don’t get me wrong, Miami has its own little rich culture of theaters, but it’s nothing by comparison to San Francisco. But alas I digress… as I always do.
“A Behanding in Spokane” yes I said “Behanding” and not “Beheading” is written by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh and the play premiered earlier this year on Broadway with the lead of Carmichael portrayed by the great Christopher Walken. It is the story of Carmichael, an easily excitable middle-aged man with one hand who has dedicated the last 47 years to finding his severed hand that he lost in a train accident.
The story takes place in a sleazy motel room and opens with Carmichael is waiting on a young couple who assured him that they would bring him his infamous severed hand. But when it turns out that the couple tries to rip him off, he decides to teach them a lesson by keeping them hostage in the room until his hand is returned to him. Carmichael is somehow still convinced that the young couple either have his hand or at least know where it is.
When Carmichael leaves them handcuffed to the radiator while he goes in search of his hand, the couple receives constant visits from the hotel receptionist Toby who would rather go on rants about gibbons in the zoo than helping people.
All in all, the acting was pretty good. The best was the opening set-up. The house lights went off for a few seconds and while they were off, Carmichael made his entrance, he managed to open the door and close it without detection because he had timed it so perfectly with the bass riffs of the music when the house lights were off so when they turned back on and there he was, it was like a super cool ninja move.
What kind of annoyed me was the story itself. As I said, this contains spoiler alerts so this is your final warning if you plan to see it. Carmichael does end up finding his missing hand but it was conveniently in his suitcase in the motel room with a group of other severed hands that he had collected through the course of his search. This would have made the whole play moot if he would have just taken a minute to actually carefully observe all the hands he had collected in his briefcase. Again this is my analytical point of view as a Screenwriter, and I’ll admit, I don’t know very much when it comes to analyzing theatre, but I know a good story when I see one.