Performing Arts: Theater
March 28, 2022
Frustrated dreams plague the Melody inn and pub. After losing his castle and dreams in Ireland, the only thing Cornelius Melody (Robert Cuccioli) retains is his outsized pride in Eugene O'Neil's A Touch of the Poet.

On the edge of bankruptcy, Cornelius expects his wife Nora (the marvelous Kate Forbes) and her daughter Sara (Belle Aykroyd) to work the place, and haggle for credit while he preens.

Self-effacing, kind and generous towards all, Nora can never forget she got pregnant after falling in love with her husband while working on his family's grounds. The pregnancy forced them to abscond for America.

On the other hand, her daughter Sara faces forward towards the future, a place of open opportunity not paralyzed by class distinctions.

When a young man of means falls ill and lands at the inn, Sara willingly nurses him. Not surprisingly, she falls in love with the fella.

This sets-up the powder-keg plot pitting the frequently drunk Cornelius against the young man's uppity, sanctimonious family. Their encounters cruelly remind Cornelius of his leavened place in society.

Directed by Ciaran O'Reilly, the admirable ensemble confronts a couple of creaky transitions, but for the most part, they perform in sync.

Set in a town a few miles from Boston in 1828, A Touch of the Poet, runs two hours and forty minutes with one intermission at the always welcoming Irish Repertory Theatre.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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