(Seen at the afternoon performance on 21st July 2018). A provocative,
cheeky snook cocked at recent Irish history. Michael Grandage keeps a stately
pace as Martin McDonagh's surprisingly deep satire unfolds.
main set is a faultless cottage interior. Sadly, it seems that the production
budget ran out after that, as other scene take place in front of a curtain
containing a tree. Still, Kate Waters gives us fights and other violence to
impressive effect (and sufficient to make the monkey at least wonder what the
heck she does for fun).
Aidan Turner (Padraic) lives up to his mad reputation.
His initial scene with Brian Martin (James) riveting in both timing and
insanity. Later, working with a sweet-voiced and lethally-minded Charlie Murphy
(Mairead) we see further dimensions as the script opens possibilities the cast
make full use of.
Father Denis Conway (Donny) and Chris Walley (Davey) are a
double act that gels as the action continues. Genuine fear is tinged with
Trio Will Irvine (Christy) and henchmen Daryl McCormack (Brendan) and Julian
Moore-Cook (Joey) are an even more amusing trio... if they weren't armed and
intent on... well... see the play.
Actually, the play itself is peculiar. If
played as it feels, it should be a very fast farce - particularly in its
stronger second half. By slowing the pace, the monkey found it frustrating until
realising it provided time to appreciate the nuances. Things said that couldn't
be said aloud at the time of original writing, and even now are close to the
bone. That said, how many will get the Louise Lombard allusion, and was the
cat-food brand around at the time?
Those quibbles aside, it passes enjoyably enough, if more than a trifle
predictably. You'll figure out the twists long before they arrive, but still
laugh with the rest as they do. Cataloguing troubled times with a humour that
drives the message home. That's an achievement worth seeing, thinks the monkey.