April 23, 2009


(Pictured to the right. Daniel Krueger
and Blake Ellis. Photo courtesy: Melllopix.com)

Lee Hartgrave reviews
April 23, 2009


In Martin McDonagh’s black comedy ‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’ -- Padraic, is a man who was refused entry to the I.R.A. for being ‘too insane’. He was just finishing up torturing a young man who is hanging upside down. Padraic has already pulled some of the mans toenails off, and he is just about to cut off one of his nipples when the phone rings. It’s not good news for the torturer – his cat Wee Thomas was a friendly cat. “He is my best friend says Paddraic.” He loves that cat more than life itself. In his life – humans are expendable – even his own Dad.

The voice on the phone tells Padraic that his cat is ill. The man hanging from the ceiling upside down pretends that he has a cat and sympathizes with his torturer. It works and Padraic cuts the rope and lets him go, telling him that he should put something on his bloody feet before his toes gets infected.

This funny play, which was banned in many parts of Ireland, is political satire and at times, extremely shocking. There is lots of violence along with a not-so-subtle statement about the nature of Ireland and it’s competing population. However, the violence is tempered by witty writing. Humor is the main engine in the play. Without it, you would just end up with a horror story.

The cats name is ‘Wee Thomas’. “He was a friendly cat. He would always say hello to you were you to see him sitting on a wall. He won’t be saying hello no more, God bless him.” Who killed ‘Wee Thomas’? Was it a neighbor or someone who had it in for ‘Mad Padraig’? Paidraig will go to any lengths to find out who killed his cat. Here is another warning. There are very loud gunshots during the play that lead to many bodies strewn about the stage. Some people in my aisle were covering their ears and their eyes. It gets that brutal – all of course, with that great Irish humor.

Most of the audience enjoyed the show, even giving it a standing ovation. The language is salty, colorful and quirky in this comedy drama. And it is utterly spellbinding! It’s clear from the opening scene that the play is loaded with solid acting.

The ending is a complete surprise in this stunning and memorable Theater piece. I won’t tell you what happens in the end, but it is staggering.

HERE IS THE RIVETING CAST: Blake Ellis (Padraic) – Magnificent portrayal! James Carpenter (Donny) Compelling acting of the highest order! Molly Camp (Mairead) Entertaining and seductive, Great Performance! Daniel Krueger (James) Amazing performance! Absolutely terrific! Rowan Brooks (Brendan) Extraordinary acting! Adam Farrabee (Davey). Nutty and hugely entertaining! Michael Barrett Austin (Joey) Pitch Perfect! Everyone was marvelous – add this show to your must-see-list!



(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook Section and produced a long-running arts segment on PBS KQED)))

More reviews: www.beyondchron.org and http://www.forallevents.com.info/leehartgrave/


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