Society: Bromley Little Theatre
Venue: Bromley Little Theatre, North Street, Bromley, Kent BR1 1SB -Main Theatre
Credits: Martin McDonagh directed by Paul Campion. This is BLT's entry in the Bromley Theatre Guild Festival and the Kent Drama Association Festival
Performance Date: 11/04/2016
The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Paul Johnson | 13 Apr 2016 11:14am
It is said that someone who likes animals can’t be all bad, well when that someone is Mad Paraic of the INLA it is the exception that proves the rule. Writer Martin McDonagh has written a play that is by turns comic, sentimental, violent and surreal , and sometimes all at the same time. It’s the early 1990s, the Northern Ireland peace process is taking its faltering first steps, and INLA man Mad Padraic is hard at work pulling out the toenails of Belfast drug pusher James, when the news comes through that his beloved cat, Wee Thomas, is poorly. No not poorly, dead – assassinated by Padraig’s colleagues in the INLA. This is a play about not only those that commit terrorist acts and love cats, but in a wider sense violent criminals whose bloody ethos doesn’t prevent them loving their mothers.
Bromley Little Theatre staged this play with relish, where the actors obviously loved the dialogue and the rollercoaster nature of the play. Their enjoyment was infectious. Accents, especially Irish accents, are not at all easy but the cast gave us all the flavour of Ireland as did the incidental music by The Reel Thing. Although the play centres around Padraic, played by Richard Stewart, this production showed how important it is that all the other characters emotional reaction to Padriac; hate, fear, expectation of violence and even love make this play work. Love is not an emotion obviously associated with this play but Mairead played by Charis Anna Mostert loved Padraic, or at least loved his unconventional lifestyle. Something she would eventually emulate and be more efficient at.
There is a challenge in staging multi-scene locations on a small stage but this was accomplished well by the set designer Dave Armour. I particularly liked the warehouse scene which created an atmosphere of cold fear, and the director Paul Campion should be congratulated for not doing what some productions do and that is to wimp out on suspending the unfortunate James by his feet.
This is a play that can be interpreted in different ways. It is billed as a black comedy and there is no argument about that. It can be performed with an emphasis on blackness and menace with the comedy lightening the horror, or, as I think in this production where the comedy was brought out through delivery and characterisation. Davey, played by Chris Learmouth, was an example of an actor who made the most of comic characterisation which played well with the audience. What was I reminded of? Well there were moments when The Young Ones came to mind. Violence, carnage and death – bloody funny.
- : admin
- : 11/04/2016