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ATLANTIC’S THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN REVIEWED IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Atlantic Theater Company and Druid‘s production of Academy Award® winner Martin McDonagh‘s dark comedy THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, directed by Tony Award® winner Garry Hynes is playing an extended engagement through Sunday, March 1, 2009.

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123084996678547443.html

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – January 2, 2008

 

TWO LOOKS AT THE LUCK OF THE IRISH

 

By Terry Teachout

 

Why do the Irish write such good plays? No doubt there’s some irresistibly compelling politico-cultural explanation, but as yet nobody’s vouchsafed it to me. All I know is that Conor McPherson and Martin McDonagh, two of the most gifted playwrights of our time, are currently represented on the stages of Chicago and New York by two of the best plays that I’ve had the pleasure to review in this space, and that both productions are excellent in every possible way.

 

As for the Off-Broadway revival of Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” which was last seen in New York a decade ago, I can only say that the Atlantic Theater Company has got itself a hit, one that will surely transfer to Broadway if anyone there has any sense.

 

Like Mr. McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” which scored a similar success when the Atlantic produced it in 2006, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” is a snarlingly black comedy whose subject is stage-Irishness, the smotheringly quaint charm that continues to be used, in Ireland and elsewhere, to paper over the harsh realities of village life. The island community of Inishmaan is an echo chamber in which everybody knows everybody else’s business and gossips about it ceaselessly and circularly: “I do worry awful about Billy when he’s late in returning, d’you know?” “Already once you’ve said that sentence.” To live in so narrow a place is agony to Billy (Aaron Monaghan), the title character, an orphan who longs with all his heart to break away and seek a wider, warmer world. The genius of “The Cripple of Inishmaan” is that it plays Billy’s plight for laughs, steering away from sentimentality and forcing the viewer to look squarely upon the ordinary sorrows of his daily life.

 

Unlike Steppenwolf’s production of “The Seafarer,” this revival is an all-Irish import. It was originally staged by Garry Hynes for the Druid Theater Company and features the same actors who were seen in Galway. I can’t imagine a more knowing performance: The members of Ms. Hynes’s cast understand in their bones what Mr. McDonagh’s play is about, and bring every line to startlingly vivid life. Playwrights dream of ensembles as fine as this one.

 

To read the full review: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123084996678547443.html

 

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

 

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