Curiously, one of the reasons the play falls short of Pulitzer Prize-winning Margulies's usual vaunted mark is that he's chosen, as many playwrights before him have, to make The Country House an homage to Chekhov. To be more specific, he's saluting--if you want to call it that--The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, and he goes seriously awry doing so, falling far short of Chekhov's dramaturgically and emotionally involving level
Recent seasons have seen a dependable stream of first-rate Irish plays making their way to Broadway and off. The newest hails not from the old country but from Bronx-born scribe John Patrick Shanley. Outside Mullingar is one of those generations-of-country-folk-on-the-old-farm plays, and it's dandy.