(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 20th October 2018)
Just in time for Halloween, Martin McDonagh comes up with a macabre tale
encompassing the revered authors of two nations... and the far lesser known ones
behind them (allegedly) of quite another.
It’s a heady mixture of drama and pantomime, Jim Broadbent (Hans) with
hilarious false modesty, doing the old “fan letter” routine in a way that should
see the Palladium after him with a butterfly net next year. Phil Daniels
(Dickens) feels that someone certainly should be, but in turn his Dickens isn’t
all that. A wonderfully pompous womaniser with a family Elizabeth Berrington
(Catherine) and children properly cutting him down to size.
And size is a key motif in the show. Johnetta Eula’Mae Ackles as Marjory
turns in Olivier winning stuff as Anderson’s captive. Far more than that, she
represents the unheard, brutalised yet vitally important people of the world.
Size is relative, as is suffering and McDonagh’s brilliant sledgehammer subtlety
is a lesson to ponder once the play is over. Anna Fleischle manages to add to
the atmosphere with a gruesome set that makes much of both the darkness and
It isn’t perfect – some sidelines meander; though they are brought together
satisfactorily, the tension isn’t sustained to give enough reason for them until
Still, for the monkey, it’s a better play than “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,”
and for those willing to stick with it, it’s far more than just the off-beat
humorous diversion it may first appear.