It seems you cant so much as pitch a pint of
Guinness across a room these day without clocking a McCourt
or at least one of their devotees. First, Frank
McCourts memoir about his poverty-stricken upbringing
in Brooklyn and Ireland, Angeles Ashes, rode the best-seller
list for a remarkable 100 weeks (it will be a movie soon).
His brother Malachy currently boasts his own best-selling
memoir, A Monk Swimming, and Malachys son, Conor, has
immortalized the once-down-trodden family in a documentary,
The McCourts of Limerick. Plus, nearly everyone who went to
Stuyvesant High School seems to claim Frank as a mentor.
If you are one of the few who know what a "blaguard" is --
its a rowdy, good-natured rascal then you might
guess that this show presents the lighter side of the
McCourt family saga. In fact, with its well-placed
songs, wickedly funny characterizations and shticky comedic
routines, A Couple of Blaguards is often down-right
vaudevillian. The fellows are first-rate performers well up
to the exigencies of the entertaining, fast-paced first act,
much of which concerns the peculiar morbidity of the
Catholic Church in Ireland. Duffin, for example, plays
Grandma in hysterics because, following his First Communion,
little Frank vomited on the ground behind her house. "I got
God in my backyard" she shrieks.
The McCourts and their stories have captured our fancy, to
be sure. What makes A Couple of Blaguards such a treat is
that it was first written and performed by the brothers
McCourt in the 1980s, before all the hoopla, and served as
the inspiration for Angeles Ashes and so lovable are those
best-selling blaguard McCourts.
By Laura Jamison