Review: The Cripple of Inishmaan (starring Daniel Radcliffe), Noel Coward theatre

Daniel Radcliffe as Billy

Daniel Radcliffe as Billy

The Cripple of Inishmaan, written by Martin McDonagh when he was in his early twenties, is a play about hope. A 1930s community in rural isolated Ireland is overwhelmed by the news of filming in nearby Inishmore. The news acts as a trojan horse of hopes and desires. Crumpled cruel unsophisticated hopes, but hopes nonetheless. Billy hopes to escape. Helen wants to be kissed and not to be groped. Babbybobby wants his wife back. Johnnypateenmike explicitly tells everyone what he wants but it might not be what he means. Some of these hopes aren’t merely unfulfilled, they are futile. Characters repeatedly run against brick walls. When they recover, they turn on each other with unsparing determination and wit. Continue reading

What will be the National Theatre’s Christmas show and other stories

This August continues to be slow for theatre (after all, we have all been focusing on other exciting events), but casting and other news are hotting up. Here is what caught my eye this past week:

  • Director Jamie Lloyd launches his own production company in association with the Ambassador Theatre Group. The announcement of this new commercial theatre venture comes not long after Michael Grandage announced his West End season of five plays chock full of big names (Simon Russell Beale, Ben Whishaw, Judi Dench, Daniel Radcliffe). Although my wallet undoubtedly suffers when I have to pay West End prices, it’s healthy to have commercial theatre that feels exciting.
  • A couple of years ago, the Royal Shakespeare Company produced and toured Ben Power’s play A Tender Thing, a new way of looking at the story of Romeo and Juliet. I was sad to miss it then, but the play returns at the RSC this autumn, this time with two of my favourite actors, Richard McCabe and Kathryn Hunter. Not missing it this time.
  • Anne Marie Duff at the Donmar was already exciting news, but now the remaining cast for Jean Racine’s Berenice has been announced: Stephen Campbell Moore and Dominic Rowan will join her as husband and lover. In this “perfect tragedy of unfulfilled passion“, it’s a delicious combination.