The Lieutenant Of Inishmore

Original West End Production 2002 Garrick Theatre

1st West End London Revival 2018 Noel Coward Theatre

Play by Martin McDonagh. Set in the West of Ireland, Thomas the cat is found dead on a lonely road on Inishmore. Is it an accident or an execution? Whichever, his death must be concealed at all costs from his owner, 'Mad' Padraic, when he returns from a stint of torture and chip-shop bombing in Northern Island: he loves his cat more than life itself.

A wicked black comedy on the taboo subjects of Irish paramilitaries, extreme violence, guns and cats, The Lieutenant of Inishmore is at once shocking and farcical, yet devastating in its dissection of The Troubles.

PLEASE NOTE: This play contains scenes of extreme violence, as well as several episodes of sustained gunfire that some people might finding disturbing. Therefore this play is recommended for people 16 years of age and over.

Originally presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2001, this is the second play in Martin McDonagh's Aran Isles Trilogy which began with the 1997 play The Cripple of Inishmaan at the National Theatre. The third play, The Banshees of Inisheer, has not been published or produced. Martin McDonagh's other West End plays include Hangmen.


Original West End Production 2002

Previewed 11 April 2001, Opened 7 May 2001, Closed 12 October 2001 at The Other Place (Stratford)
Opened 20 December 2001, Closed 23 February 2002 at the Barbican Pit Theatre (London)
Previewed 21 June 2002, Opened 26 June 2002, Closed 2 November 2002 at the Garrick Theatre (London West End)

The original London West End June 2002 cast at the Garrick Theatre featured Peter McDonald as 'Padraic', Glenn Chapman as 'Joey', Elaine Cassidy as 'Mairead', Trevor Cooper as 'Donny', Luke Griffin as 'Brendan', Peter Gowen as 'Christy', Paul Lloyd as 'James' and Donal Gleeson as 'Davey'.

The original cast at the RSC Pit Theatre in Stratford and Barbican Pit Theatre in London featured David Wilmot as 'Padraic', Glenn Chapman as 'Joey', Kerry Condon as 'Mairead', Trevor Cooper as 'Donny', Stuart Goodwin as 'Brendan', Colin Mace as 'Christy', Conor Maloney as 'James' and Owen Sharpe as 'Davey'.

This production was originally due to open at The Other Place in Stratford on Wednesday 18 April 2001, unfortunately the weekend beforehand Owen Sharpe suffered a serious wrist injury and the official opening was delayed until the week starting Monday 6 May 2001.

Directed by Wilson Milam with designs by Francis O'Connor, lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Matt McKenzie.

"Martin McDonagh's play The Lieutenant Of Inishmore opened in Stratford last year, allegedly rejected by the National Theatre and the Royal Court because it was too politically explosive. More like they misjudged its brilliance. Doubtless its astonishingly well sustained tone of absurd humour made little sense on the page. I hope they're regretting it because the play deserves to be a huge hit. Part Jacobean revenge drama, it also owes something to Joe Orton's fabulous bad taste and to Tarantino's blood-fests, and yet remains thrillingly original. The root of the comedy springs from the way in which horrors are discussed and executed with a matter-of-fact homeliness, as if bombing a chip shop was as ordinary as mashing potatoes. McDonagh dares to send up terrorism by revealing its practitioners as mindlessly violent sentimental 'eejits' who merrily murder and maim innocent people but weep over dead pets. The IRA wouldn't let Mad Padraic in because he was 'mad enough for seven people'. So he joined the INLA and he's never happier than when he is removing the toenails of anyone who has upset him, then giving the poor creature the bus fare to the hospital because 'the last thing you want is septic toes'. When, mid-torture, he gets a phone call telling him that his beloved cat, Wee Thomas, is poorly, he blubs like a baby, hangs up his scalpel and sets off home... All hell and worse breaks loose, finishing up with walls running with blood and a stage knee-deep in body parts and dead cats... 'Tis deadly, as they say in Ireland, and there's no higher praise than that." The Mail on Sunday (at the Garrick Theatre)

"Martin McDonagh's hilarious new play about a psychotic Irish terrrorist is a black comedy... and a blood red one to boot. The stage is practically awash with the stuff when bodies are cut up to be disposed of following a shoot-out. A drug pusher is tortured, a poor pussy is battered to death and a second moggie has its brains blown out. It is like something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie - Reservoir Cats, so to speak... Animal lovers and those of a squeamish disposition would do well to give The Lieutenant Of Inishmore a miss, but it is a brilliant piece of theatre. Bloody funny is the most appropriate way to describe it." The Daily Mirror (at the Barbican Pit Theatre)

"The Lieutenant of Inishmore portrays a terrorist subculture in which there seems no reason why splinter groups shouldn't go on splintering ad infinitum. The leader of one such group, Padraic, is first seen torturing a drug-dealer somewhere in Northern Ireland; then he is summoned home to Inishmore on the pretext that his pet cat is sick. His colleagues are planning a purge, and we are soon plunged into a world of bloody reprisals - and one where Padraic isn't alone in setting far more store by the life of a cat than that of a human being. By the last scene the stage is thick with ketchup. Corpses are being dismembered on the kitchen floor, and the killing doesn't stop there. The main point about the play is that it is ferociously funny. Perhaps it shouldn't be, but it is. In the past I've found the violence in McDonagh's plays, other than The Beauty Queen of Leenane, distasteful but here he shows a perfect sense, as Cocteau said, of how far you can go too far. And even that wouldn't be enough if there weren't a serious point as well, if the play didn't demonstrate how the hardest of fanatics feeds on the softest of sentimentality." The Sunday Telegraph (at the Barbican Pit Theatre)

"Its first scene, and every one thereafter, starts brilliantly. Davey and Donny are staring at a dead cat. It belongs to Donny's psychotic son, Padraic, who, on hearing that Wee Thomas is ailing, quits torturing a hapless hash pusher and returns to Inishmore. There he meets the terrorist cohorts who, to revenge Padraic's forming of a splinter group, pulverised his pussy. The ensuing events confuse the answer to what one-eyed thug Christy had thought a simple question: "Is it happy cats or an Ireland free we're after?" The comedy is as broad as it sounds, and nullifies the menace: threatened at gunpoint by a sociopath, teenage Davey questions his aggressor's grammar. There's no room, either, for ambiguity: no one could think of McDonagh's terrorists as freedom fighters. They're sexist, emotionally stunted and concerned with the implications for tourism. Inishmore's shock tactics and demented logic recall the works of Orton. While Orton explicitly confronted audiences with their own double standards, not someone else's, McDonagh's scorn of pig-headed Utopianism and false history has a wide application... McDonagh's dialogue is freewheeling and "feck"-spattered, his satirical sideswipes frequent and barbed. The noisome conclusion, which sees Davey and Donny ankle-deep in blood, blithely hacking at mutilated corpses, serves only to confirm: you've never seen anything like this." The Independent on Sunday (The Other Place)

The Lieutenant Of Inishmore in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 21 June 2002, opened on 26 June 2002 and closed on 2 November 2002


1st West End London Revival 2018

Previewed 23 June 2018, Opened 4 July 2018, Closed 8 September 2018 at the Noel Coward Theatre

The cast features Aidan Turner as 'Padraic' with Charlie Murphy as 'Mairead', Denis Conway as 'Donny', Will Irvine as 'Christy', Brian Martin as 'James', Daryl McCormack as 'Brendan', Julian Moore-Cook as 'Joey' and Chris Walley as 'Davey'. Directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin, and music and sound by Adam Cork.

Aidan Turner is best known for playing thee role of Ross Poldark in the BBC television series Poldark from 2015 to 2018. His London theatre credits include playing the role of 'Corporal Stoddart' in Ben Barnes' revival of Sean O'Casey's play The Plough and the Stars at the Barbican Theatre in 2005.

When this production opened at the Noel Coward Theatre in July 2018, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised "this fearless, savagely funny satire" that "plays to Aidan Turner's physical prowess and natural air of command" in "Michael Grandage's polished revival." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "Michael Grandage directs a comedy as black as a moonless night that pokes relentless fun at the romantic notions behind terrorism... There is no weak link in the cast. Aidan Turner is hilarious to watch and Will Irvine is particularly good." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said that "Michael Grandage's production is not subtle but it has several moments of genuine laughter... Aidan Turner, up against fine acting from Denis Conway and Chris Walley in particular, hurls himself into the fray." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard thought that "Aidan Turner makes a magnetic West End debut in this grippingly unpleasant comedy." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented that "Martin McDonagh's 2001 play is, in my opinion, the darkest and funniest he has ever written," while "Michael Grandage's direction enjoys the Oirishry of the writing" Neil Norman in the Daily Express explained that the play "may be 20 years old but its cocktail of humour and horror remains as potent as ever," addding that Aidan Turner "is extravagantly and flamboyantly funny but never at the expense of his lethal lunacy. A strong supporting cast respond to Michael Grandage's con brio direction which dispenses with any residual subtlety to sustain an unrelenting atmosphere of violent farce... enjoyable and funny - if you have a strong stomach." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper described how in "Michael Grandage's blackly uproarious revival of The Lieutenant of Inishmore... Aidan Turner is in masterful command of its Synge-meets-Tarantino tone... Martin McDonagh's play pushes its mockery of them to gleeful extremes and Michael Grandage's zestful production is wonderfully on its wavelength as it escalates into a splatter-fest." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote that in "Michael Grandage’s comically horrific production... Aidan Turner is excellent as Padraic, and plays him not as some wild-eyed barbarian but as a man endowed with a demented innocence... this strikes me as a first-rate revival of a play that still instructively shocks."

"In Michael Grandage's assured West End production. There's nothing wrong with Aidan Turner's performance, which has an almost pantomime level of generosity. It's a great thick pork chop of a portrayal. He could perhaps use an extra gleam of derangement, but still captures the bizarreness of a psychopath giving way to a toddler's meltdown, or counselling the man he's just disfigured... The playwright isn't exactly Victoria Wood, but his dialogue similarly knows exactly when to detonate the mundane - it is larded with references to Frosties, ringworm pellets and Padraic's unlikely fondness for The House of Eliott... The brilliant turn is by Chris Walley, newly graduated from Rada, as hapless young Davey, unjustly accused of running down Wee Thomas on his mammy's bubblegum-pink pushbike. He's brilliantly mulish and querulous, unable to resist having a put-upon whinge or quibbling about his assassin's grammar even at the barrel of a gun. Gangling, spaghetti-limbed and with a much-mocked mullet, Walley gives the character an irresistible physical life." The Sunday Times

"Fans of Aidan Turner are in for a shock - for his West End debut, the Poldark hunk plays Mad Padraig, a psychotic Irish terrorist deemed too violent for the IRA. We first meet Padraig in 1993 as he tortures a drug dealer - only for the urgent business of slicing off his nipples to be interrupted by a call summoning him back to his island home, where his cat Wee Thomas, is ill. But the discovery that Thomas is already dead unleashes a splatter-fest of blood and gore as Padraig seeks vengeance for his feline friend. It's far from Sunday night viewing. Poking fun at violent extremism with the blackest comedy imaginable, this satire from Martin McDonagh crackles with energy. The cast are all terrific but there's no doubt Turner, still handsome soaked in blood and brains, is magnetic." The Sunday Mirror

The Lieutenant Of Inishmore in London at the Noel Coward previewed from 23 June 2018, opened on 4 July 2018 and closed on 8 September 2018