Monday, April 28, 2014

Feck Yeah Martin McDonagh

Thank you, Daniel Radcliffe. If it weren't for you, The Cripple of Inishmaan probably wouldn't be on Broadway right now. Martin McDonagh's plays have been produced on Broadway before without star power, but Radcliffe's presence definitely makes Inishmaan financially viable. Not to say that this is a case of stunt casting--he's very deserving of the part. But even though the advertisements indicate otherwise, this is a true ensemble piece, and everyone pulls their weight.
Daniel Radcliffe as Billy; Photo credit: Johan Persson
Radcliffe doesn't appear in the play until pretty far along in the first act. We first hear about his character, "Cripple Billy," by way of his aunties Eileen (Gillian Hanna) and Kate (Ingrid Craigie), who aren't biologically related to him, but raised him after his parents drowned. The women aren't exactly PC (it's Ireland in 1934), but they have Billy's best interest at heart. This being a McDonagh play, the characters are sharp-tongued and violent, but also caring and loyal. When gossip Johnnypateenmike (Pat Shortt) informs the town that an American film crew is coming to shoot a movie, Billy is determined to be discovered.
Sarah Greene and Conor MacNeill as Helen and Bartley McCormick; Photo credit: Johan Persson

Radcliffe, who continues to prove what a dedicated and hardworking stage actor he is, spends the play limping and contorted, but his performance is restrained. Director Michael Grandage has assembled such a fine cast that I hate to single anyone out, but Sarah Greene and Conor MacNeill are a particular delight. She is wickedly funny as the saucy Helen and he is endearing as her simple-minded brother Bartley.

But the best thing about this production is that it's accessible: $27 tickets are available in advance to every performance.

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