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Liberation Iannillo


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Martin McDonagh's
The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Tuesday 7:00PM
Wednesday 2:00PM & 8:00PM
Thursday & Friday @ 8PM
Saturday 2:00pm & 8:00PM
Sunday 3:00PM
Open Run
Lyceum Theatre

Starring: Jeff Binder as James; Andrew Connolly as Christy; Dashiell Eaves as Joey; Peter Gerety as Donny; Domhnall Gleeson as Davey; Brian D’Arcy James as Brendan; Alison Pill as Mairead; David Wilmot as Padraic. Produced by the Atlantic Theater Company and directed by Wilson Milam.

Reviewed by Wendy R. Williams


Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a “Quentin Tarantino-ish” ode to the Irish Republican Army’s fractured splinter groups and the unlucky-but-beloved cats (both black and camouflaged) that cross their paths. Blood is squirted, limbs are tossed, fur gets matted and the audience dies laughing.

As the play opens, we see Donny and Davey standing by a kitchen table in a ramshackle shack of a home on the Irish coast. On the table is the now dead Wee Thomas, a black cat much loved by Donny’s insane son Padraic, a bloodthirsty, trigger-happy member of a splinter group of the IRA. It seems that Davey was riding his bike down the path when he found the mangled body of Wee Thomas and he has brought Thomas’s squishy carcass to Donny to see if the cat can be revived. Donny immediately suspects that Davey has run over the cat (it is a deserted path) and the recriminations begin. But we quickly discover that regardless of who is responsible for the fate of poor Wee Thomas, the real problem is: However can they inform Padraic about the death of his cat and not die themselves?

We are soon introduced to the other characters in the play: mad Padraic; Davey’s cow-eye-shooting sister Mairead; torture victim James: and three hapless members of Padraic’s IRA splinter group – Christy, Joey and Brendan. All of the characters in this play share three traits: They are all abominably stupid, hysterically funny, and have an absurd love of cats

So, unwittingly, the die has been cast. Padraic rushes home to care for what he has been told is a cat “off his food.” Hot on his heels are the murderous members of his splinter group (Christy, Joey and Brendan) and hot for his body is the trigger-happy sixteen-year-old Mairead, who finds the IRA’s penchant for violence erotic. Davey, with all of his appalling bad luck, stupidity and lack of any semblance of judgment, becomes our guide into the story – our every man. And Domhnall Gleeson’s Davey literally stole the show (a hard task with this group of mega-talented actors); he puts the exclamation point on the show as he sits on the floor surrounded by pile of bloody corpses, whining, “Could this day get any worse?”


If the Tonys had an award for special effects, Inishmore would definitely have aken home an award for its horror-movie-style corpses, make up and blood squirts.

And here is a theory about the Tonys. Inishmore received several nominations but did not win any, and all I can say is that The History Boys must be the best play in the history of the world. Mc Donagh’s other recent Broadway play, Pillowman, also received many nominations, but won Tonys only for lighting design and scenic design. I think it must be due to the elevator story. I loved both shows, but had trouble describing them to my friends. With Pillowman, I had to tell them that I had just seen this amazingly funny play about a man who kills small children by making them swallow razor blades. With Inishmore, I am raving about a play about bloody cats and dismembered Irishmen. And Inishmore is by far the easier play to hype.

But on with my theory about the missing Tonys. When the curtain opens, something happens at every theatrical performance: Additional cast members arrive - the audience. And these cast members have their own lines - their laughs and their gasps. With one of Mr. McDonagh’s plays, something truly transformational happens to the audience. We find ourselves laughing hysterically at hideous things and we become actors in his play: We split our sides over dead cats, blinded cows, crushed teeth and disembodied limbs. And we perform well; these plays are incredibly funny. But leaving the theater we do feel as a participant in a particularly degenerate East Village orgy must feel as he/she wipes off the Mazola, get dressed and reenters the sidewalks of life. As in, “Hey, I didn’t know I was in to that kind of thing.” And/or, “What must they (the other orgy participants) think of me?”

So there you have it: The Lieutenant of Inishmore, one of life’s guilty pleasures (like sex and foot massage) that tend to create awkward pauses when discussed at the dinner table.

Many kudos to Martin McDonagh for his brilliant writing, Wilson Milam for his superb direction and The Atlantic Theater Company for having the courage to bring this play to Broadway. Also, raves to set designer Scott Pask, costume designer Theresa Squire, lighting designer Michael Chybowski, sound designer Obadiah Eaves and music composer Matt McKenzie, all of whom created the playing field for an incredible game.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore won the 2003 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and was nominated for the 2002 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play.

Tickets $36.25-$91.25 - $26.25 student rush at www.telecharge.com or Tickets: 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250 - . Check www.theatermania.com for discounts. For more information on the play: www.lieutenantofinishmore.com.

Lyceum Theatre |149 West 45th Street |New York, NY 10036

 


 


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