The Lieutenant of Inishmore

The Lieutenant of Inishmore revels in a kind of gleeful pop mayhem that results in relentless—some might say dubiously contagious—gore: Advance reports from other cities where audience members in front row seats got caught in the comic crossfire and splattered with fake stage blood have not been exaggerated. But don’t be too quick to label playwright Martin McDonagh (Oscar-nominated for his In Bruges screenplay) the theater’s equivalent of Quentin Tarantino. Where Tarantino asks us to enjoy over-the-top bedlam as merry post-modern buffoonery, McDonagh seems at least a little bit curious about why we enjoy it. His dark humor and even bleaker concerns—which have already had success at ACT in stagings of A Skull in Connemara and The Pillowman—reach fever pitch in Inishmore, an award-winning farce that finds several Irish terrorist types at a country cottage launched into absurdly violent machinations by the death of a beloved cat. You should be laughing while wondering how in the world eye-shootings, nipple-extractings, toenail-slicings, and limb-hackings became the stuff of such easy ha-ha-ha’s. Kurt Beattie directs. STEVE WIECKING [Also see Margaret Friedman's review.]

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 15. Continues through Nov. 14, 2010

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