facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre
Aidan Turner in The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (Photo: Johan Persson)

Aidan Turner in The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (Photo: Johan Persson)

Reasons to see: The Lieutenant Of Inishmore

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson First Published 6 July 2018, Last Updated 6 July 2018

The Lieutenant Of Inishmore opened at the Noël Coward Theatre earlier this week, transporting audiences to a 1990s Ireland on the early precipice of peace.

There, the play tells the story of Mad Padraic, a terrorist whose means are so twisted, even the IRA wouldn’t have him. What unfolds is an ingenious satire of violence in contemporary culture; here’s why we can’t recommend Michael Grandage’s production enough.

It’s one for dog lovers

The great “cat vs dog person” debate won’t be evenly contested in the Noël Coward Theatre auditorium for weeks.

The events of The Lieutenant Of Inishmore are kick-started by an unfortunate happening for poor ‘Wee Thomas’, and things only really go downhill for the show’s kitty characters from there.

But fear not, feline friends, because there’s also a healthy dose of cat-lover references and kitty-caring tips along the way; anybody whose favourite pet might be suffering from ringworm, or isn’t quite the right colour, or hasn’t had the nutritional benefits of Frosties (disclaimer: there are none), take note.

It’s this kind of deliciously dark and surreal comedy that powers the entire play and leaves you chortling along, right the way through to its grim yet irresistible (feline-featuring) finale.

The cast of The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (Photo: Johan Persson)The cast of The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (Photo: Johan Persson)

Martin McDonagh’s script

How can themes of ultraviolence, maiming, torture and dodgy 90s hairstyles be so funny? Yet from the pen of Martin McDonagh – whose play was first produced by the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2001 – The Lieutenant Of Inishmore strikes a rare balance between the downright horrifying and the outright hilarious.

The script is pitch-perfect satire: there’s enough meat to the action to deliver its message about the lunacy of terrorism, while there’s more than enough mirth to showcase just how absurd some of the motivations of the era were.

Aidan. Turner.

His star may shot to Hollywood heights in recent years in The Hobbit, and he’s a nationwide favourite as the titular character of the BBC’s Poldark, but it’s on stage where Aidan Turner first cut his teeth as an actor – and his sheer stage presence in this production alone suggests it’s a welcome West End debut for the Irish actor.

Expertly bouncing between fits of violent rage, and moments of sweet remorse for his precious Wee Thomas, the mad glint that Turner carries in his eye is enough to give anybody the heebie jeebies. Just be thankful he’s cut off from you by a protective fourth wall.

Denis Conway, Chris Walley and Aidan Turner in The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (Photo: Johan Persson)Denis Conway, Chris Walley and Aidan Turner in The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (Photo: Johan Persson)

Guts and glory

No bones about it: The Lieutenant Of Inishmore is about as gory a play as you’ll see on the West End stage today. Blood, guts, eyes, toenails, mullets – nothing is safe from Mad Padraic’s twisted imagination.

Suffice to say, The Lieutenant Of Inishmore carries a 16+ age recommendation, so it’s not necessarily one for the family – but for adults, it’s a delightfully squeamish experience, always funny through its light-hearted approach to shocking on-stage events. If it’s a more mature comedy in the West End you’re after, The Lieutenant Of Inishmore is a top contender.

You simply have to see it

There’s nothing else quite like The Lieutenant Of Inishmore in London theatre right now – and that gives director Michael Grandage’s revival an exciting vivacity.

With an on-form ensemble cast, no-holds-barred staging, heaps of McDonagh surrealism, and one-liners aplenty, The Lieutenant Of Inishmore is so enjoyable, it has to be seen to be believed.

The Lieutenant Of Inishmore is playing at the Noël Coward Theatre until 8 September. Tickets can be booked through the show’s website.

Share

Sign up

Tagged:
aidan turner michael grandage Noel Coward Theatre the lieutenant of inishmore

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.