Union actors carry ‘Shining City’

Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s “Shining City” is an intriguing Irish drama about spiritual loss. Conor McPherson doesn’t always explain what’s bugging his characters. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. These people feel they’ve lost God, and, in director Robert Brewer’s production, it’s at times remarkably touching to see them trying to find their way back into meaning.

The plot puts us in a Dublin therapist’s office (beautifully designed by Shoko Kambara). Former priest, current therapist Ian (Clarence Gilyard) is nervously dealing with his first patient: a middle-aged businessman, John (Richard Leighton), whose wife recently perished in a horrific accident. To make matters worse, John has just seen her ghost and is tormented by what the woman may have been trying to say to him.

The reasonableness in Ian as a therapist disappears when he’s dealing with his private life. He’s in agony as he tries to break up with girlfriend Neasa (Katie Mazzola), and when he attempts intimacy with a male hustler (Eddie Mullaney), Ian’s anxiety appears to be way out of proportion to his circumstances. When the prostitute finally works up the steam to hug Ian, it’s as if he’s doing it not as a prelude to sex, but as an act of kindness to help Ian exorcise his demons.

Gilyard projects the professionalism of a therapist, yet communicates crippling emotional weakness. He’s a wonderfully effortless, charismatic actor. Leighton brings such authority to the role of the businessman, that it’s horrifying to see him made so helpless by his situation. It’s marvelous to observe the gradations in the men’s relationship. You believe the changes that the script tells us take place between them.

Mullaney makes a major impression in his brief scene as the hustler. He moves with seductiveness, while projecting the soul of a man who has lived through too many nightmares.

Brewer’s direction runs into trouble due to a lack of modulation. There’s too much same-level screaming, too many super-imposed rhythms. John has a lot of monologues, and Brewer often handles them by having Leighton deliver them to the audience. You half-expect the therapist to ask, “Who are you talking to?” This compromises a hunk of the script’s subtlety.

But the weighty presence of union actors Gilyard and Leighton carry the day. I left the theater with a heightened sense of the importance of my own spirituality.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like