Through November 26
MINDING FRANKIE Irish Classical Theatre Company/Andrews Theatre
One mistake can drastically change your life.
Noel Lynch (Christian Brandjes) is a borderline drunk who is seeing his job situation deteriorate badly because he’s sloshed on a steady basis, day and night.
Then, he’s visited by pompous and efficient social worker, Moira Tierney (Kristen Tripp Kelley).
She asks him about a woman from his past, a woman he needs to be mentally nudged to remember.
He finds out she had a baby and left Baby Frankie to him, apparently because he’s the father.
Noel has trouble even remembering her and finds it hard to believe he made such a basic mistake, to discover his future role is “Minding Frankie.”
Shay Linehan extracted the story from a 2010 Maeve Binchy novel.
Director Chris Kelly has to tell the whole story with only the two-performers and imaginary characters.
Brandjes is mostly just Noel while Kelley is Tierney and a lot of others to help tell the story.
Brandjes is stronger than Kelley because Noel is more of a real person and a sympathetic character while Tierney is a corporate enforcer, a suit, the kind of person who reminds you of standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Besides, Kelley is often lost in her accent, while Brandjes gets his lines out into the paying seats while having a strong accent.
Moira Tierney has a rule book and a set of ideas to get Frankie away from Noel and is infuriated when he builds this incredible network to keep his job, go to AA and manage Frankie, taking a village to raise the infant.
Noel’s not sure what he is doing but is clearly able to recognize when he’s over his head and never falls back into the bottle.
There are twists and turns in the story, some predictable and some not and a classic ending to the story.
“Minding Frankie” is a very human story and that’s clearly what Binchy and Lineham want.
It’s also getting a strong production of doing the best with what you are given, even in a bad situation.
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