THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE
by Martin McDonagh.
Curve To 27 February 2010.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Sat 2.30pm.
Audio-described 27 Feb 2.30pm (+Touch Tour 1pm).
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 0116 242 3595.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 24 February.
Bloody comedy of people in a flap about a cat.
Gore and mirth intertwine in Martin McDonagh’s comedy, raising laughs from an Irish Republican militarism engaged in rampant in-fighting, with splinter groups so splintered they barely rate as shavings. Retribution is swift and crafty when one treads on another’s toes. As when puritanical Padraig dismembers drug-dealers who’d been providing a rake-off for other groups.
Tall, straight-backed and endearingly frank in Samuel Roukin’s performance, two-gun toting Padraig takes time to react, then does so with undiluted thoroughness. And when sentiment strikes, it’s all-encompassing, as his enemies calculate. He may face up to shooting his dad in the back of the head, but the idea of harm befalling his cat Wee Thomas brings him running.
Paul Kerryson’s revival places McDonagh’s characters in an ungiving environment. There’s nothing about the patchy mesh of Juliet Shillingford’s set, or the bleak, relentless Inis Mor landscapes, interrupted only by highly-coloured Catholic icons, glimpsed on video to inject humanity into them.
This is a place where people could go round and round without making any progress. As McDonagh’s characters do; his dialogue circles and repeats, re-emphasising circumstantial points, while characters establish a pecking-order and ingratiate themselves through repetition and agreement.
Kerryson employs a half-height curtain to indicate the end of act one. What more natural than that its next descent should seem the whole play’s end? Yet amid the applause it re-ascends, revealing the ‘McDonagh moment’. There’s one in each of his plays; a scene of horrific, yet hilarious violence: sudden, imaginative and driven by a character’s ferocity. Here the image of people forcibly turned butchers sums-up how power and violence distorts and makes willing accomplices of those around.
Curve’s production is stacked with performances catching the mix of laugh and retch. As with sister and brother Mairead and Davey, assertively contradicting each other. Mairead (Amy Molloy, displaying youthful simplicity and directness) whose pop-gun technique of blinding creatures makes her a local terror, hero-worships Padraic. Contrasting him, no doubt to Patrick Moy’s long-haired, piping-voiced Davey, hopeless in the simplest things. In the end though, it’s every cat has his day in the unholiness of the heart’s affections.
Donny: Eoin McCarthy.
Davey: Patrick Moy.
Padraic: Samuel Roukin.
Mairead: Amy Molloy.
James/Brendan: Joe Renton.
Christy: Kevin Murphy.
Joey: Calum Callaghan.
Director: Paul Kerryson.
Designer: Juliet Shillingford.
Lighting: Tim Routledge.
Sound: Jack C Arnold.
Fight director: Bret Yount