THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE by Martin McDonagh. RSC The Other Place, Stratford u

RSC: The Swan, Stratford, Tickets 01789 403403
Runs: 2 hours, One interval
Review: Rod Dungate, 25th August 2001

Contemporary writing at its very, very finest: a breathtaking
production many of us will remember for a long time to come

THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE is contemporary writing at its very, very
finest – it’s audacious, enormously well crafted and dark: it will move you to
tears with the rawness of the wounds it exposes and still have you rolling
about with laughter. The pointless and desolate waste that results from the
continuing violence in Ireland is Martin McDonagh’s central theme, and with
great theatrical brilliance he explores this without overtly stating his case
(quite the opposite, in fact). The result is breathtaking.

So how does McDonagh do this? He has created a small world peopled by
characters of extreme violence, for whom violence is accepted as normal,
people who can neither see life without violence, nor a way out of it, nor the
consequences of their actions. With relentless logic he pursues his theme and
reveals insanity. He builds the violence to ever greater excesses and delights in
his power of ironic invention in much the way Hitchcock did and Tarantino
does. We are left laughing and groaning at the same time.

There is fine ensemble playing in this team with actors keeping characters
well within the world of the play: characters are 100 per cent believable, which
is no mean accomplishment with this script. Owen Sharpe is a most
sympathetic Davey, the plump little 17 year old, none too bright, who nearly
dies (several times) through a mindless act of kindness. Trevor Cooper,
Donny, convinces us he’s entirely disgusting-unkempt, lank hair and a belly
wobbling over his belt. David Wilmot gives an inspired, maniacal performance
as the INLA member Padraic who ‘the IRA wouldn’t let in because he was too

Director Wilson Milam keeps everything under control with a mighty sure
hand and has presided over a production many of us will remember for lots of
reasons for a long time to come.

Davey: Owen Sharpe
Donny: Trevor Cooper
Padraic: David Wilmot
James: Conor Moloney
Mairead: Kerry Condon
Christy: Colin Mace
Joey: Glenn Chapman
Brendan: Stuart Goodwin

Director: Wilson Milam
Design: Francis O’Connor
Lighting: Tim Mitchell
Sound: Matt McKenzie

2001-08-26 13:08:52

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