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The Lieutenant of Inishmore [Paperback]

Martin McDonagh
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Paperback, April 12 2001 --  
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Book Description

April 12 2001 Modern Classics

A farcical look at political violence as it's played out during The Troubles in Northern Ireland against the drab backdrop of a bare, rustic Irish cottage and unending boredom in an inhospitable environment in which a mutilated cat sets off a murderous cycle of revenge.

The second play in Martin McDonagh’s dramatic trilogy, it is a wildly funny and gruesome portrayal of an Irish terrorist who is numb to the feelings of his victims, but yet completely attached to and sentimental about his pet cat. The cat is reported dead when Padriac is away bombing civilian targets in Northern Ireland as a one-man splinter group and his family and friends in Inishmore desperately try to conceal the cat's death and what caused it before he returns.

 

 

 

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Review

"Gleeful, gruesome play about political terrorism in rural Ireland, which won the Olivier Award for best comedy...Appallingly entertaining...Enlightening..."Lieutenant" is brazenly and unapologetically a farce. But it is also a severely moral play, translating into dizzy absurdism the self-perpetuating spirals of political violence that now occur throughout the world."—The New York Times
 
"A cautionary fairy tale for our toxic times. In its horror and hilarity, it works as an act of both revenge and repair, turning the tables on grief and goonery, and forcing the audience to think about the unthinkable."—The New Yorker

"There's more than one way to skin a theatrical cat; and McDonagh's chosen weapons are laughter and gore Pushing theatre to its limits, McDonagh is making a serious point a work as subversive as those Synge and O'Casey plays that sparked Dublin riots in the last century."—Guardian

"A brave satire Swiftianly savage and parodic with explicit brutal actino and lines which sing with grace and wit."—Observer

“In the person of a man who can break off from torturing a chain-suspended victim to have a fretful mobile phone conversation about the health of his cat, McDonagh makes mock of the psychotic sentimentality of Irish nationalist terrorism.”—Independent


About the Author

Martin McDonagh's first play The Beauty Queen of Leenane was nominated for six Tony awards, of which it won four, and the Laurence Olivier Award. In 2003, his play The Pillowman had its world premiere at the Royal National Theatre and received the 2004 Olivier Award. In 2006, Martin McDonagh won an Oscar for his short film Six Shooter.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Another production challenge from McDonagh Oct. 25 2002
Format:Paperback
I directed McDonagh's "The Lonesome West" for the Station Theatre, Urbana, IL, in January 2000. (See 8am.com for reviews and links.) What an exhilarating ride! The new play -- like all of McDonagh's maddeningly vicious, hilarious efforts -- would be equally frustrating to stage, particularly the need for dead cats, live cats (covered with shoe polish), and other acts to drive directors mad. ("The Lonesome West" required dozens of Catholic religious figurines to be smashed nightly, not to mention an exploding oven and on-stage rain.) Certainly his staging challenges make these plays riveting to see, but they are equally rich in the reading. Be prepared to laugh... and then shocked at yourself for laughing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Theatre alive and well with McDonagh Aug. 29 2008
Format:Paperback
Wow. I came across Martin McDonagh thanks to an article in The New Yorker, and after Inishmore, I bought the rest of his plays. I still think this one is the best, although I haven't gotten around to The Pillowman yet.

I teach this play in my senior high school English classes (thank goodness the characters say "feck" instead of something else), in part simply to show them that the theatre isn't as abstract, pretentious and navel-gazing as they seem to imagine. McDonagh's characters are vividly alive, and hysterically funny, although always in a rather morbid way.

Fast-paced plot, great twists, awesome dialogue. I'll never look at a cat the same way again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. March 12 2003
Format:Paperback
OK. I think McDonagh is a straight genius. I read this play, because I am currently in The Cripple of Inishmaan(the tame McDonagh play), but only because out director didn't think he could get the rights to this one. But I read this play, and I almost [messed] myself almost every other line. it is just that funny. I wish that we could have gotten the rights to it. It would be great to watch our director figure out how he would pull all this crazy stuff off. Overall, this is just a really funny, violent reason as to why I love the theatre. READ THIS SCRIPT. IT IS AMAZING. It is also very, very lean. No fat at all. A very short, perfect read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing, unconvential work of theatre Nov. 27 2001
Format:Paperback
This play manages to capture on the stage everything that Tarantino brings to life on the screen. I saw the RSC's performance while over in the UK and it was mindblowing. What was totally cool was that rather than a program, one was given a script, which I have read a few times, and proves better each time around.
The play is at the same time very literate and very funny in a morbid sense, the only things coming to mind for comparison being Pulp Fiction and Irvine Welsh novels. This is a new directin in theatre and a great read on it's own.
A truly original piece of work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More existentialist than Tarantino June 5 2006
By Stephen F. Davids - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With the Tony nomination for Best Play this year, there might be some renewed interest in buying this book (the most recent review on this site was in 2003). This is laugh-out-loud funny stuff, and well worth reading. While "existentialist" may be a bit pretentious, this play deals with absurdity and futility in an atmosphere of constant violence and death. That McDonagh can make this material so funny is a tribute to his gift. This play I believe is a companion piece to McDonagh's Oscar-winning short film Six Shooter (available for download on iTunes), which deals with some of the same subjects, and also reserves its only tenderness for pets. I can see why people make the Tarantino comparison, but I see Tarantino as more of a stylist who sets out intricate time sequences and is less concerned about traditional narrative structures. McDonagh, by comparison, is very much into formal plot devices and structure.

Definitely not for those who don't enjoy black humor. For those who enjoyed The Pillowman (on Broadway last year), this one is an earlier play and doesn't have nearly the creativity and ambition of Pillowman. But it is still very well worthwhile, and a lot of fun.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bloody Good Play July 14 2006
By Van D. Roth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I saw this play at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway (7/9/06, Sunday matinee) not even a week ago as of this writing. It was nominated for several Tony awards this season and I can easily understand why. It is absolutely the most outrageous comedy I have seen in years of theatregoing. Very dark. Very well written. Very funny. Worth the trip and definitely worth the read.

McDonagh challenges us to laugh at what would be normally very tense, dramatic, serious scenes. He has created a world populated by characters that think they are smart but we can see they have solutions and ideas that are idiotic. These absurdities make scene after scene strikingly laugh out loud funny, despite their violent conclusions.

The point well made - that terrorism is a fool's paradise and is pointless, creating needless hurt and confusion - is spelled out in comedic terms so well drawn that you laugh despite your better judgment. That is, until you understand the logic of placing humor front and center, as the most integral of survival skills.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Comedy and Theater of the Absurd Sept. 2 2008
By John F. Rooney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In June of 2006 I saw the Broadway production of "The Lieutenant of Inishmore." The eight character play has more blood and gore overwhelming the stage than any play I have ever seen. After the intermission the stage was littered with dismembered body parts and blood splashed over everything.
In this black comedy the words black (more violent) and comedy (more farcical) take on new meanings. The dialogue in the play, funny and inane, is right out of the theater of the absurd or theater of the ridiculous.
The characters in this play are dimwits, off-the-wall nutcases. Donny, for example admits to trampling on his Mam. His son Padriac, the self-anointed lieutenant, a certifiable homicidal psychopath who cares more for his cat Wee Thomas than he does any human being, reminds his father "There's no statute of limitations on Mam trampling." The play is full of surprises, shocks to the system, ironic twists, and over the edge humor. The ending is a master stroke.
Padriac has to form a terrorist splinter group because he is too violent for the IRA. He is betrayed by his former terrorist brethren who act like the Three Stooges. One girl, Mairead, entertains herself by shooting out the eyes of cows.
In a black comedy piece in Scene Two Padriac is torturing a man he has trussed up and has hanging upside down by his feet. Listen to him and other characters as they are about to be tortured or killed and you hear stubbornness, and a stupid bent to infuriate and aggravate their executioner/torturer.
The two characters who open the play, Donny and Davey, are two clowns performing a vaudeville act. They are incredibly dumb, and their dialogue is full of non sequiturs.
McDonagh has said that making audiences uncomfortable, getting them wriggling in their seats is his goal, and he achieves it here. Squirming in their seats would be more like it. The audience is saying, "Oh, no he wouldn't push the envelope that far, gross out that much, and that's exactly what he does.
See my Amazon reviews of "The Cripple of Inishmaan," "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," and "In Bruges" for my comments on McDonagh's blood and gore, his violence, black humor, irony, and links to the theater of the absurd.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. March 12 2003
By S. A. Rader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
OK. I think McDonagh is a straight genius. I read this play, because I am currently in The Cripple of Inishmaan(the tame McDonagh play), but only because out director didn't think he could get the rights to this one. But I read this play, and I almost [messed] myself almost every other line. it is just that funny. I wish that we could have gotten the rights to it. It would be great to watch our director figure out how he would pull all this crazy stuff off. Overall, this is just a really funny, violent reason as to why I love the theatre. READ THIS SCRIPT. IT IS AMAZING. It is also very, very lean. No fat at all. A very short, perfect read.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another production challenge from McDonagh Oct. 25 2002
By P. G. Springer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I directed McDonagh's "The Lonesome West" for the Station Theatre, Urbana, IL, in January 2000. (See 8am.com for reviews and links.) What an exhilarating ride! The new play -- like all of McDonagh's maddeningly vicious, hilarious efforts -- would be equally frustrating to stage, particularly the need for dead cats, live cats (covered with shoe polish), and other acts to drive directors mad. ("The Lonesome West" required dozens of Catholic religious figurines to be smashed nightly, not to mention an exploding oven and on-stage rain.) Certainly his staging challenges make these plays riveting to see, but they are equally rich in the reading. Be prepared to laugh... and then shocked at yourself for laughing.
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