Finally a mediocre Broadway play with raving reviews…to say that “A Behanding in Spokane” fell short of the mark is an understatement. Why did the newspapers think it was hysterically funny? Did they take any special precautions to avoid a headache?
The play is unmistakably American. I mean this in context of the presiding language. The cast consisted of a behanded racist lunatic, a dim witted hotel receptionist and a petty thieving “black” guy- “white” girl couple.
The plot was not un-promising. The lead character whose left hand (below the wrist) was brutally cut by a bunch of hooligans when he was a kid 27 years before, and since then he has been on a mission to retrieve it. His offer of $500 to the person who brings him back his hand is seen by the couple as a quick way to make an easy buck. They steal a displayed hand from a local museum and try to pass it off as his. But since the stolen hand was that of an Aborigine, the scheme needless to say fails miserably. However, they did not count on the behanded man being a deranged maniac who would see this as a personal insult and have his heart set on killing them. The plot unfolds as he imprisons them in a hotel room and tries to kill them at the hotel, which is manned by the extremely dim-witted man (read unbelievably stupid and hence extremely annoying to a person of ordinary intelligence).
I give the play credit for occasional moments of mirth and its short duration. It lasted a little over 90 minutes, and I was very glad when it was over. The actors had gotten on my nerves by being extremely loud and overly enunciating every dialogue. Harder to forgive or comprehend was the extreme usage of swear words thrice every sentence (M—F--), even with the extreme situation of stress the young couple was under.
And that made me think as I walked out...If this is what humor has descended to, God save all those holding a smile on their faces.