A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER, Seanachai Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater. Marie Jones’s play presents that staple of Irish theater, one man trying to come to grips with the Troubles–but introduces the wrinkle of using only one man. Though nicely observed and occasionally humorous, this one-man show treats an overfamiliar topic predictably, and the force of the Moral makes the whole thing taste faintly medicinal.

After realizing at a soccer match that his fellow Catholic-hating Protestants are nasty thugs, Kenneth Norman McCallister upends his entire life. He joins a largely Catholic group headed to New York to cheer on the Irish World Cup team, discovering en route the brotherhood of man. But because his original epiphany is unpersuasive–why was that night different from all other nights?–his odyssey seems formulaic, a sort of “Catholic Like Me.”

John Dunleavy plays all the roles skillfully, leavening Kenneth’s pretransformation obnoxiousness with his own winning personality. As Kenneth’s father-in-law, Dunleavy’s a persuasive jerk; as his wife, he’s a prig of the Dame Edna Everidge variety; as his Catholic boss, he’s warmly forgiving. It’s not his fault that each of these characters is a type rather than a person. There are good lines–we know everything about Kenneth’s wife once he says her shoes look like a pair of “black patent leather rottweilers”–but overall Jones has written a better speech than a play.

–Kelly Kleiman