After a 2014 Broadway revival that saw it scoop six Tony Award nominations, twisted Irish comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan is set for a season at Adelaide’s Arts Theatre in what will be The Rep’s must-see production for 2015.
Written by Martin McDonagh, branded “the Irish Tarantino” for his savage, eccentric and frequently violent works, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a darkly witty exploration of love, loss and the search for one’s place in the world.
Set in 1934 on the small island of Inishmaan off Ireland’s west coast, the play follows the story of orphan “Cripple” Billy Claven, a clever, self-educated village lad who yearns to escape the gossip, poverty and boredom of his tiny community and become something more.
When an American film crew arrives on neighbouring Inishmore to make a documentary about life on the islands Billy spies his opportunity to break free, hatching a reckless scheme to land a role on the silver screen and head for the Hollywood Hills.
But not everything is as it seems, and Billy and his fellow villagers face a series of increasingly ironic hurdles as the play stealthily advances towards a bittersweet ending.
Praised as a “sublime tragicomedy” by Variety and “outrageously funny” by the New York Times, Cripple won a legion of new fans in 2014 with a critically acclaimed Broadway season starring Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, a revival that was nominated for six Tony Awards.
A long time fan of McDonagh, director Kerrin White says Cripple is the perfect introduction to one of Ireland’s most important playwrights.
“It’s a typical dark McDonagh comedy, but it’s probably the lightest of all of his comedies – no one gets tortured in this one,” he jokes.
“He is a master of language and can change the mood so suddenly. One minute you’re crying, the next you’re laughing out loud, the next you’re gasping.”
White says audiences will have much to appreciate in the play’s sharp writing and biting social commentary.
“The play is full of eccentric characters that are not all sympathetic but you’re still fascinated by them,” he says.
“I think audiences will find an element of recognition in that, of themselves and their own families. Even though the characters are really eccentric and really dark, at their hearts they and their motivations are completely relatable.”
Darkly funny and movingly melancholic by turns, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a modern comedy about love, loss and longing to move up in the world.
The cast features Matt Houston as BillyClaven, with Mary Angley, Eleanor Boyd, Alan Fitzpatrick, Benjamin Maio Mackey, Ben Todd, Tracey Walker, Sue Wylie and John Leigh Gray completing it.
The Cripple of Inishmaan runs in a limited season of just eight performances at The Arts Theatre, 53 Angas St Adelaide, from September 3 to 12, with all tickets $22 or less.
Bookings: www.adelaiderep.com or phone 8212 5777
AUDIENCE WARNING: Strong language and some violent scenes.