Orson Bean, Alley Mills et al.

Synge: The Playboy of the Western World

L.A. Theatre Works

Jonesing for morbidly hilarious theater in the Martin McDonagh vein? Then you’ll find L.A. Theatre Works’ crisp recording of J.M. Synge’s startling 1907 play The Playboy of the Western World mighty tasty. With deliberate Irish Lucky Charms image-slaughtering anti-folksiness, Synge sends a young man stumbling into a rural Irish town announcing that he’s killed his father. In moments, he’s become the town hero and the object of numerous amorous attentions—causing him to wonder in an aside why he hadn’t killed the man sooner. Thanks to its unsentimental depiction of Ireland’s soft spot for rough trade and braggarts, P.W.W. roused riots at its Abbey Theatre and New York premieres, but today we know it for what it is: a comic masterpiece. Featuring Orson Bean and Alley Mills, a superbly balanced recording and perfect comic pacing, P.W.W. is what we dream of in recorded theater.