Previewed 1 December 2015, Opened 7 December 2015, Closed 5 March 2016 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London
Martin McDonagh's new play Hangmen in London starring David Morrissey, Andy Nyman and Johnny Flynn - transferring to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre following an acclaimed sold-out run at the Royal Court Theatre.
In his small pub in Oldham, Harry is something of a local celebrity. But what's the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they've abolished hanging? Amongst the reporters and pub regulars dying to hear Harry's reaction to the news, a peculiar stranger lurks, with a very different motive for his visit.
The cast for Hangmen in London features David Morrissey as 'Harry', Andy Nyman as 'Syd' and Johnny Flynn as 'Mooney' along with Josef Davies, James Dryden, John Hodgkinson, Bronwyn James, Ryan Pope, Sally Rogers and Simon Rouse who all reprise their roles from the Royal Court Theatre run earlier in 2015. The production is directed by Matthew Dunster with designs by Anna Fleischle, lighting by Joshua Carr, sound by Ian Dickinson and fights by Kate Waters. Originally staged at the Royal Court Theatre with previews from 10 September 2015, opened 18 September 2015 and closed on 10 October 2015. Martin McDonagh's London plays include The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Lieutenant Of Inishmore. Matthew Dunster's London credits include Anton Chekhov's The Seagull (Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park 2015).
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the content of this play, this production is only recommended for 14 years and over.
When this production opened at the Royal Court Theatre in September 2015, prior to its transfer here at the Wyndham's Theatre, Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard explained that "Martin McDonagh’s new play is a black-hearted slice of gallows humour... Matthew Dunster directs with a keen eye for both farce and the macabre... Hangmen is hilarious while also presenting a devastating vision of guilt, betrayal and flawed masculinity." Michael Billington in the Guardian commented that "Martin McDonagh has lost none of his power to shock. After more than a decade since his last London premiere he returns with a savagely black comedy that reminds us it is exactly 50 years since the end of hanging in England, Wales and Scotland... but the play reveals all of McDonagh’s talent for eclectic playfulness... It makes for a compelling evening that confirms McDonaghs’s prodigal, pluralist talent." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted how "the acting, particularly David Morrissey and Johnny Flynn, never falters. The set by Anna Fleischle is almost too believable and the fights aren't bad either. But the real star is the script, which is brilliant except, perhaps, for a few too many jokes about "c***s" (rhymes with rocks). But then, it is Oldham." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail wrote that "Matthew Dunster’s production is certainly impressive and sharply acted on Anna Fleischle’s set of a grim green prison cell yielding to a dingy northern boozer... There is, however, no escaping the McDonagh sneer and his mean-spirited gags make for a poisonous night out. Satire used to be turned on the powerful. Here it’s turned on the weak. And it goes on for two-and-a-half hours, which means it’s nasty, brutish — and long." Paul Taylor in the Independent said: "True, you might want to think twice before describing this play about Britain's last public hangmen as 'drop-dead hilarious' or 'perfectly executed'. But both terms fit the blackly comic brilliance of Martin McDonagh's writing and the virtues of Matthew Dunster's consummately well-cast and performed production... A flawless treat." Charlotte Heathcote in the Daily Express described how "Martin McDonagh's first play for a decade is a brutal black comedy about Britain's last hangman... It is a glorious ensemble of rackety characters dominated by Davif Morrissey's Harry who tries to preserve the dignity of his victims by keeping mum on the subject of his past career while fighting the urge to deliver a 'hang and tell' story to local newshound... McDonagh's trick is to keep us laughing right up to the end. Now that's what I call gallows humour." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented how "Martin McDonagh's first new play to be seen in London in a decade is every bit as verbally scabrous, physically violent, energetic and blackly comic as the best of his work hitherto. And it goes nowhere.... Where savage laughter might be marshalled to some end, it just goes off like a crass scattergun pointed vaguely and gratuitously at women, gays, northerners, southerners . . . rather than any relevant target. As characters compete to be the least personable, the events and issues around them will hardly elicit sympathetic consideration either."
"This look back in sharp-eyed wonder at the grimmer side of the swinging Sixties doesn't loosen its grip from start to finish. It's perhaps the most line-by-line funny play London has seen in years. The act of fathoming what's going on takes you brilliantly, without any crude coercion, to the heart of serious questions about justice and punishment - and the fallibility of the way we reach verdicts... Matthew Dunster directs a first-rank cast of 12 and already has an almost sold-out hit on his hands. If this doesn't get a West End transfer, it'll be a major miscarriage of commonsense." The Sunday Telegraph
"It's riveting from start to finish. Almost every line is laugh-out-loud funny, every moment filled with dramatic tension. Perhaps his time away from the stage writing film scripts has only honed his narrative talent, his ability simply to tell a gripping story, so superbly on display here... Matthew Dunster's direction is immaculate, and performances throughout are wonderful... Hangmen is a great play, but it isn't seriously challenging anything. All it really demonstrates is that lynch law is a terrible idea and capital punishment is little better, often farcical, brutal and stupid, especially where miscarriages of justice are concerned — which we all agree with already, don't we?" The Sunday Times
"After a decade, Martin McDonagh is back with a vengeance. The settling of old scores – as well as the nature of justice, retribution and what makes a professional killer – come under scrutiny in Hangmen, a pitch black, brutal comedy... The dazzling dialogue is fast, smutty and riotously funny, as if Harold Pinter and Joe Orton had teamed up to rewrite J B Priestley's An Inspector Calls, initially, it seems, just for the sheer fun of it, until the play suddenly becomes a gripping murder mystery, then twists into a deadly farce, before finally petering out into implausibility... in Matthew Dunster's flawlessly directed, exhilaratingly well performed production of a play that falls just a rope's length short of perfection." The Mail on Sunday
Hangmen in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 1 December 2015, opened on 7 December 2015 and closed on 5 March 2016