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
# I MISS THEATRE
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen.

The Cripple Of Inishmaan

First Published 19 June 2013, Last Updated 19 June 2013

Daniel Radcliffe, formerly famed as schoolboy wizard Harry Potter, continues to prove his performance pedigree in Michael Grandage’s revival of The Cripple Of Inishmaan.

In the title role of this ensemble piece, the young star’s contorted body – left arm withered and retracted, left leg twisted and unbending – is a feat of painful performance in itself, Radcliffe hobbling and stumbling agonisingly across the stage. Yet it never quite makes him as ugly or undesirable as his uniformly pessimistic friends and neighbours describe.

Boy, do they deride him, for his looks, for his habit of reading, for having parents that drowned themselves leaving him orphaned. It is something to do, I suppose, in a town where a goose wrapping its beak around a cat’s tail constitutes headline news.

You can understand why, when a Hollywood film crew comes to a neighbouring island, Cripple Billy, as he is endearingly labelled, sees a possible escape route from the monotony of watching cows.

Radcliffe, who brings out Billy’s desperation for acceptance, normality and escape, is the show’s heart, but McDonagh’s comedy, first seen at the National Theatre in 1997, is a true company piece, delving into this idiosyncratic community.

Sarah Greene rules the town as Helen, an angry, potty-mouthed teenage distortion of little orphan Annie with a lust for violence and egg misuse. Gillian Hanna and Ingrid Craigie create the best aged comedy due since The Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf in Billy’s adopted aunties, while Irish comedian Pat Shortt is perfectly irritating as local gossipmonger Johnnypateenmike.

In truth, not a lot happens, which is fitting for this 1930s Irish island where a Bible theft is big news. The treat of the production is in McDonagh’s dialogue, full of colloquial rhythm, simmering malevolence and insults aplenty. The comedy is classic McDonagh, lurking in the murkiest of dark areas, the pitch black shadows that find you every now and then questioning whether you should be laughing at all.

Yet beneath the insults, which are undoubtedly borne out of the need to pass time in a community in stasis, there is a warmth that rounds off some of the harsh edges.

On press night, director Michael Grandage apologised to the audience for a delay caused by the house lights, which could not be dimmed. As the curtain rose, the lights snapped off, plunging the auditorium into darkness. The transition felt somehow appropriate.

Share

Sign up

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.