Saturday, February 27, 2010

"The Lieutenant of Inishmore" - February 2010

XLC Theatre Company have followed last year's successful production of Martin McDonagh's "The Pillowman" with another of his plays - the Irish paramilitary set "The Lieutenant of Inishmore". But this is no serious political drama - think 'Pulp Fiction' crossed with 'Father Ted' and you'll have a fair idea of the tone here. It makes for a production that people may well have very different reactions to - Waldorf was largely unimpressed and felt it played up the slapstick too much. But for me this really hit a sweet spot with some magnificent performances.

Yes, on occasion, the relationship between Donny (Richard Rankin) and Davey (Iain De Caestecker) strays a little too close to Ted/Dougal but their comic delivery is flawless - at times reducing me to tears. As Mad Padraig, left devastated by the death of his pet cat, Kevin Mains balances perfectly the character's over-the-top moments with a deadpan performance. Daniella Ritchie gives a fine performance as Mairead while Steve Grant, Ian Cameron, Colin McGowan and James Forrest complete an ensemble I doubt I'll see surpassed this year.

Artistic Director David Lee-Michael and Technical Director David Winter contribute much to the production in terms of some beautifully put together set pieces, effective lighting and some well executed gunplay.

And finally a word about the level of 'commitment' shown by the cast. In truth I'm not sure I should be encouraging this, but in the Citizens Circle studio there are no hiding places and in order to make the violence believable these guys really appear to go for it. I'm sure they must be absolutely battered and blue by the end of the run, but it certainly has the desired effect in having an impact on the audience.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore completes its run at the Citizens on Saturday 27th February (today) with a matinee and evening performance.