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Atlantic Theater Company and Druid‘s production of Academy Award® winner and four-time Tony Award® nominee Martin McDonagh‘s THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, directed by Tony Award® winner Garry Hynes is playing a limited engagement through Sunday, February 1, 2009.




ASSOCIATED PRESS – December 22, 2008


Martin McDonagh celebrates Irish eccentricities

By Michael Kuchwara

Ah, Ireland! Martin McDonagh can’t say enough about the eccentricities of the Emerald Isle in “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” the playwright’s darkly hilarious and surprisingly moving comedy which opened Sunday at off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company.

Though London-born, McDonagh, author of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” and “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” has deep Irish roots, a DNA which have given him a sharp eye for Irish characters and an even sharper ear for the way they talk.

And talk they do in this carefully calibrated revival, a joint production of the Atlantic and the Druid Theatre of Galway, Ireland. McDonagh’s attitude is both joyous and jaundiced in its depiction of the colorful residents of Inishmaan, a hardscrabble island off the west coast of Ireland, circa 1934.

In director Garry Hynes, McDonagh has found the perfect midwife to bring the play back to New York, especially after a much different, more cartoonish production 10 years ago proved disappointing. Hynes, who runs the Druid, has tapped into a joint Irish-American cast, and her actors makes a compelling argument for “Inishmaan” as one of McDonagh’s finest plays.

Chief among them is Aaron Monaghan as Billy, the heartbreaking title character. Not since Philip Anglim scored off and on Broadway in “The Elephant Man” nearly 30 years ago has an actor so physically inhabited a role. Contorted and consumptive, Billy is the play’s pure-of-heart center. He’s a lonely lad, an orphan raised by two fussing aunts. And Monaghan’s extraordinary portrait proves to be powerfully endearing.

Not that McDonagh allows the play to wallow in sentiment. Far from it. Just when you think things are going to get a tad sticky, he upends the bleak story, often with a bit of brutality that is as physical as it is verbal.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” concerns the arrival of a Hollywood film crew on a nearby island to film a movie and its search for locals to join the cast. Billy sees the film as his way out of a sad, drab existence.

News of the film crew’s appearance is spread by Johnnypateenmike, sort of a human version of instant messaging. This information machine is hilariously played by David Pearse, a pint-sized bundle of resentment, particularly against his 90-year-old mother (Patricia O’Connell). She’s a hardy woman who refuses to die – no matter how much liquor she readily consumes.

Add to that mix Billy’s shopkeeper aunts, the delightful Dearbhla Molloy and Marie Mullen, who fuss and fume about their surrogate son. The two actresses bat McDonagh’s rhythmic dialogue as if it were a tennis ball. Their timing is perfect.

And then there is the belligerent Helen, a pretty young girl who delights in tormenting the island’s male population. Not only does her brother (Laurence Kinlan) bear the brunt of her fists, but so does Billy, who also has a hankering for a kiss from the feisty lass.

Add a sympathetic doctor (John C. Vennema) and a dour fisherman (Andrew Connolly) and you have a full parade of Irish stereotypes. It’s these stereotypes that McDonagh is celebrating and slyly spoofing, but with a great deal of heart. In honoring them, he has created a unique theatrical offering all his own.

To read the full review: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h4gWZUQ56AFUNHgvyP_kOXlz202AD957DJC83


For playing schedule and ticket information, visit: www.atlantictheater.org


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