by Martin McDonagh.
Tour to 19 April 2015.
Runs 2hr 45min One interval.
Review: Anne O’Leary 6 March at Gaiety Theatre Dublin.
Brilliantly realised theatricality.
Although this award-winning play has been around since 2003, this tour by Decadent Theatre Company is its first Irish production. Long-awaited too is the theatre debut of David McSavage, whom McDonagh selected as the perfect actor to play Tupolski, the caustic interrogator.
However, with McDonagh-like irony, McSavage may well be the weakest link in this production. There seems to be a perception difficulty for the audience in engaging with the play’s dark and grotesque content when the opening lines are delivered by a street performer and well-known comedian.
There is more playfulness expected from McSavage than the role allows for. By contrast experienced actor Gary Lydon plays his colleague, the neurotic Aerial to perfection. He delivers the repetitive dialogue slowly enough to imbue it with threat and absolute power, just as it is intended.
Peter Campion is superb as Katurian, the writer who is interrogated along with his brother Michael because a number of murders bear a resemblance to his stories (about children but definitely not for children).He is a complex character who is arrogant about his writing and panics at the thought of its extinction, although only one of his hundred stories has been published.
The scenes in the cell are interspersed with scenes from past family life and dramatized episodes from Katurian’s stories and the staging here presents a real challenge. To accommodate them, Owen MacCarthaigh’s set has a raised platform in front of which Katurian sits and narrates. These scenes are a heady mix of Carnival, grotesque and cartoon-like styles but with a distinct surreal edge to them.
Michael Ford-Fitzgerald’s performance as Michal, the mentally disabled brother is faultless from his claw-like hand gestures to his heartless mimicking of his brother’s tortured screams and by contrast his ability to be calmed by a good story.
Storytelling and narration are the main themes of this multi-layered play and any production must provoke a reflection on McDonagh’s work, his relationship with critics and how he communicates to his audience. At every turn, director Andrew Flynn’s imaginative production explores such theatricality brilliantly, particularly in the recreations of Katurian’s stories.
2-14 Mar 7.30pm Mat Sat 3pm Gaiety Theatre Dublin 0818 719388 www.gaietytheatre.ie
16-21 Mar 8pm Everyman Theatre Cork 021 450 1673 www.everymancork.com
24 Mar-19 Apr Tue-Sat 7.45pm Mat Sat & Sun 2.30pm Lyric Theatre Belfast 028 9038 1081 www.lyrictheatre.co.uk