Forget your kitchen sink dramas, theatrical realism is the play set in a bar. The current production from Seanachai Theatre boasts a set from John L. Stark authentic enough that a fellow critic asked: “Does it smell like a bar in here?” My nose didn’t pick up the whiff of beer and vomit in the Storefront Theater space, but the set is a killer piece of work. Come to think of it, most bar sets are. The reliable drinking establishment—with all it’s metaphors, visual and otherwise—always seems right at home on stage. And so, Roddy Doyle’s “War,” the Irish comedy from 1989 wherein a weekly bar trivia game becomes more than just a game. (Doyle is best known in the U.S. for his novel-turned-film, “The Commitments.”) In a north Dublin pub, the old and the young become caught up in a boisterous fight to the end. “It’s not a game anymore, lads,” says an intense husband and father named George (Michael Grant). “We’re gonna get these fookers.” In between trivia questions, all hell breaks lose. For George, things aren’t much better at home. A baseline affection exists between he and wife Briget (the excellent Sarah Wellington), but when he loses at the pub—or feels the slightest bit of inadequacy—he takes it out on his spouse, who bears their unsatisfactory marriage with an ironic smile. (Karen Kessler directs.) The bar scenes expose a single truth—we are all just looking for ways to entertain ourselves—but despite some decent performances, the show fails to satisfy on that very point. (Nina Metz)
At the Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph, (773)878-3727.