In Play Reviews

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Sonya (Sara Hennessy) and Kate fall in love on a stage in Ireland under a ridiculous chandelier where Sonya is rehearsing her part in a play about Russians. “Her eyes are like the rabbit’s in Watership Down,” Sonya gushes. And it’s off to the races for Sonya and Kate.

The audience never actually meets Kate in Sonya Kelly‘s memoir comedy play about meeting the love of her life. Rather, the West Coast premiere of How to Keep an Alien, now playing at Corrib Theatre, is  the story of how Sonya keeps Kate after she finds her. Kate is Australian, officially an alien, and the Irish government reminds her that her visa is up. But there is too much romance on the line for Kate to return to Australia permanently. Sonya wants Kate in Ireland, and she will move heaven and earth to keep her there!

How to Keep an Alien is like a champagne cocktail–fizzy and pink and luscious–until Sonya ramps it up with the Irish government. She is hilarious. She is a bulldog. Sara Hennessy grabs the role of Sonya like that bulldog and runs with it. Corrib’s stage manager Amy Katrina Bryan plays herself, moving from her desk only to purloin a letter or deliver unpleasant bureaucratic news.

Corrib’s founding artistic director Gemma Whelan directs this witty comedy. Thanks also to Trevor Sargent, scenic and lighting designer; Summer Olsson, costume designer; Chanelle Magee, props designer; Phil Johnson, sound designer; and Adam Liberman, managing director.

Who doesn’t love a good battle with faceless bureaucracy? If you need a night of merriment and quick, clever lines, this is the play for you. It runs through May 5 at New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont, Portland, OR.

Photo above: Sara Hennessy in How to Keep an Alien at Corrib Theatre. Photo by Adam Liberman.


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