With his turquoise silk robe and green socks and his breezy staccato tales of managing bag-piping dogs and pigeon girls, Rhys's superb Teddy offers a comic lightening to the show: his compact frame and spry energy are the perfect image of an aging impresario. But despite Teddy's repeated insistence that theirs was merely a "professional" relationship, he, too, is deeply implicated in the emotional life of this threesome, and Rhys delivers some of the show's most wrenching moments, including his excruciating hurt, which he tries to dismiss, when he is left behind after Frank's most miraculous and lucrative performance.

In the final act, Frank returns, changed irrevocably by the other versions of him we have heard. What all three have chosen to believe of their life together has come to comprise, in a sense, three different religions, and Reilly makes elegantly eerie work of Frank's ultimate telling. In concluding his story it's as if he succeeds, as one last miracle, in finally transcending himself.

FAITH HEALER | by Brian Friel | Directed by Daniel Burson | Produced by the American Irish Repertory Ensemble | at Portland Stage's Studio Theater | through October 21 | airetheater.com

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  Topics: Theater , Terrence McNally, Providence Performing Arts Center, Providence Performing Arts Center,  More more >
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