Mad Padraic is an Irish terrorist in the time of The Troubles, he’s too violent and unpredictable even for the IRA. But he loves his cat. When the only thing he loves is killed, Padraic wants vengeance. So begins Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at the Noel Coward theatre in London.
If you’ve only seen Aidan Turner in Poldark, you’ll be amazed at how hilarious as well as threatening he is as this man of extremes, flipping from anger to tears to a twinkling smile in the space of a few seconds.
He’s well supported by Denis Conway as his father Donny, Chris Walley straight out of RADA but hitting it out of the auditorium as the hangdog youth Davey, Charlie Murphy as Padraic’s equally crazy love interest and, in fact, all the cast. Every character is as thick as two slices of peat- but maybe we all are when it comes to understanding terrorism.
Martin McDonagh’s play is the blackest of black comedies. Written nearly 25 years ago but more relevant than ever, it satirises terrorists and how their distorted idealism, in which violence breeds violence, leads to a blind pursuit of their goals at the expense of morality or even decent human behaviour.
Michael Grandage’s comical production
The first act has some great funny lines. I particularly liked a description of cats as ‘full of themselves’ but it mainly serves to introduce us to the characters and set up all the fastmoving action of the second act. That’s when it really takes off with one violent incident leading to another in a series of twists so ingenious that that every so often they got a round of applause from the audience.
And what violence! Michael Grandage’s triumphant production is so exaggerated that everything becomes comical but even so, it’s still quite a shock to see someone’s brains splattered across a wall, live on stage.
It’s so totally over the top, it goes down the other side and over another top.
The Lieutenant Of Inishmore with Aidan Turner is at the Noel Coward Theatre London until 8 September 2018.
Here’s the YouTube review of The Lieutenant Of Inishmore with Aidan Turner on One Minute Theatre Reviews-
Laura Linney, Andrew Scott and Aiden Turner are among the big names opening in shows in June
Possibly the most anticipated opening in June is the West End debut of American actor Laura Linney in My Name Is Lucy Barton, a dramatic monologue based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the complexities of family life. It opens at the Bridge Theatre on 2 June for a very short run.
Octoroon opens at at the National Theatre on 7 June. Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins’ play was described by The New York Times as ‘the decade’s most eloquent statement on race in America today’. Meanwhile the National’s The Jungle which was co-produced with the Young Vic transfers to the Playhouse Theatre from 16 June. ‘The Jungle’ in question is the one just across the Channel in Calais. The play tells the story of the refugee camp from its creation to its destruction. We meet some of the residents and learn about their stories, their hopes and their fears.
Beirut was written in the USA in the 1980s at the height of the AIDS crisis. Alan Bowne’s play is a cutting examination of a society ravaged by a nameless disease. Although written at a particular moment in history, the play transcends the issues of its time and could be about the spread of any incurable disease. At its heart is a dark love story, questioning how society deals with the ‘abnormal’ in a society gone mad with fear and ignorance. Beirutwill be performed at Park Theatre from 12 June .
The Royal Shakespeare Company has two major openings in June. Imperium, Mike Poulton’s adaptation of Robert Harris’ best selling Cicero books transfers from Stratford to London. It had great reviews when it was in Stratford including five stars from Michael Billington in The Guardian who called it ‘one of the finest achievements of the Royal Shakespeare Company in recent years’. It’s an epic drama set in turbulent times for the Roman Empire (it covers the assasination of Julius Caesar). Imperium is in two parts lasting a total of seven hours. Richard McCabe’s performance in the central role of Cicero was much praised. It opens at the Gielgud on 14 June.
Back in Stratford, the RSC are putting on a new musical. Miss Littlewood tells the story of the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre Joan Littlewood. Her Theatre Workshop was responsible for many famous productions including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage, and breathed new life into the then-derelict Theatre Royal Stratford East . This new musical of Joan’s life story, told with her own uncompromising candour, reveals a mighty love story at its heart. Clare Burt makes her RSC debut to play Joan Littlewood. Miss Littlewood opens on 22 June.
Andrew Scott, famous for television’s Sherlock and his recent stage performance of Hamlet, will be reprising his almost legendary monologue Sea Wall, written by Simon Stephens. Andrew Scott first performed this at the Bush Theatre in 2008. You can see it, if you can get a ticket, at the Old Vic from 18 to 30 June.
When it was performed on Broadway, Fun Home won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. The New York Times said it was ‘a poignant and raw exploration of family, memory and sexuality’. Now we get the chance to see it at Young Vic from 18 June
Cordelia Lynn’s new play One For Sorrow opens at the Royal Court on 20 June. During an attack on London, 20 year old Imogen joins a campaign offering refuge to victims. Before her family have even had a chance to have a reasonable discussion, John is at their door. He is different to them. He isn’t what they expected. And although they’d never admit it to themselves, he isn’t necessarily what they want.
Following his success with Red (here’s my review), Michael Grandage directs The Lieutenant Of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh at the Noel Coward Theatre on 23June. Aidan Turner, a great actor who is probably best known for baring his chest in Poldark, stars. If you know the films In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri or the plays The Cripple Of Inishmaan and Hangmen, all written by Martin McDonagh, you’ll know the kind of black comedy to expect. In this play, a republican Irish paramilitary goes on a rampage after his cat is killed. This is the link official Noel Coward theatre box office.
Dusty, a new musical based on the authorised biography of Dusty Springfield, will have its world premiere at Theatre Royal Bath on 23 June before touring to The Lyceum in Sheffield, Newcastle Theatre Royal and The Lowry in Salford.
Red is a conversation about art. I realise that could sound boring but I promise you it isn’t. You will be caught up in the passion that writer John Logan shows for the history of art, the creation of art, even the meaning of the colour red. And you will be gripped by a drama about the conflict between an older and younger generation.
Alfred Molina plays the artist Mark Rothko at a late point in his career when he’s famous and successful. And if you go to this play for no other reason, go to see Alfred Molina.
The abstract expressionist movement of which Rothko was a major player has blown away what went before, but he himself now faces destruction from a new movement with new ideas, Pop Art. As Rothko himself says, the child must banish the parents. It’s a commanding performance. His Rothko is a confident, self-centred, controlling, great artist but we also see just how vulnerable he feels.
His assistant Ken, played by Alfred Enoch, represents the new generation. Rothko is very serious about how he fits into history and how profound his art. Like Ken, the new generation- Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol- are more broad-minded and playful. Ken questions and challenges Rothko, gently at first, more confidently as the months pass.
The tension and teasing between them is riveting. Then, every so often, there is an interruption to the musical point and counterpoint of the conversation. And at these points, the two move as one to, for example, move a canvas or (and this was a theatrical moment I’ll never forget) when they paint the red undercoat on a white canvas in silent dance-like unison. I guess this symbolised the fact that, whatever their differences, the two generations were united in their love of art.
Just as the red and black in Rothko’s paintings work with and against each other in a constant dialogue. In fact, the whole production is analogous to Rothko’s approach to painting.
It was vital to him to control how his paintings were viewed- the setting, the lighting, the mood. So, at the start of the evening, Molina is sitting silently on stage as the audience enter still chatting and settling, illustrating how art is diminished if the viewer is not concentrating on it.
Christopher Oram‘s set impressively recreates Rothko’s studio and provides the perfect setting in which to see the play. Lighting designer Neil Austin keeps the paintings at the centre of our thoughts and makes the red of the title shimmer and glow. Director Michael Grandage has created a wondrous, flowing rhythm in both dialogue and movement.