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Eddie Coyle at the end

Posted by Joel Brown  January 14, 2012 02:38 PM

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CoyleOnly one show left, Sunday at 7:30pm, for "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" at Oberon. I've written about the theatrical adaptation of this Boston crime classic by Bill Doncaster a few times over the past year, including attending its first reading more than a year ago in the back room of the Burren. Thursday night I finally got to see the full version at Oberon - I brought my dad, who took me to the movie back in 1972, and we scarfed beers and burgers over at Charlie's  Kitchen first to get in the old-school mood.

The play was everything I expected, with its network of conspiratorial conversations staged all around Oberon and sometimes overlapping as the web of circumstance tightens around the characters. I don't review plays I write about, but this was dark fun. Special nod to Rick Park as the bartender/ex-con Dillon, whose seemingly genial, reasonable exterior is gradually revealed as a disguise. Peter Darrigo is also effectively real as a familiar kind of cranky, self-aggrandizing, working-class Masshole; it's just that Jimmy Scalise's gig involves guns and banks instead of power tools or paint brushes.

I'm still debating the depiction of Coyle himself by Doncaster, director Maria Silvaggi and actor Paulo Branco. Mind you, they deliver on their artistic intent - I'm just not sure I share their interpretation 100%. Sure, the movie's performance by Robert Mitchum gave the character more gravitas than author George V. Higgins may have intended, but the Coyle they give us in the play is a total mook.

Overall, this is a compelling restaging of the tale, and last I heard, there were only a couple of handfuls of tickets left for the final performance, at 866-811-4111 or

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About the author

Joel Brown is a regular contributor to The Boston Globe and writes the blog. Catch his tweets between posts at More »

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