The Lieutenant of Inishmore

FLW Theatre’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore is one of those productions that well and truly holds your attention. The combination of Martin McDonagh’s Irish wit and Kevin Turner’s keen direction results in a wonderfully entertaining piece of theatre.

The writing is sharp and quick, filled with black comedy and irony, and I found myself consistently waiting for the next line. When it came it always caught me out, as the plot twisted and turned with unexpected developments and hilarious outcomes, forming a well-shaped piece.

FLW’s cast were truly on point, with all actors making bold and authentic choices. Donny (Brendan Macdonald) was a real standout for me; Macdonald was strong and believable as the father of the mad INLA man Padraic, and expertly interacted with the other actors, displaying impeccable timing.

His accent, too, was consistent – in fact, all the accents in this show really made it something special, with everyone more or less nailing it (however some words were lost in the Irish lilt, and the occasional American accent would surface). The play is so heavily reliant on the conversations between the characters (though the scenes of action are effective too), so the use of accent and song upheld the richness of the piece. A good Irish accent makes everything funnier, too.

The set utilises simplicity and symbology to achieve a diverse range of locations and sense of space, particularly through the use of light and shadow, which I loved. The fluid work of the cast and crew in changing scenes was admirable, and contributed to the way the piece as a whole kept me captivated. But I found some of the costumes odd and slightly distracting; they seemed too old-fashioned for the 1990s, though they did fit with the set style and palette.

Simple but critical moments of timing, both dramatic and comedic, really stood out. Christy (Kristen Cunningham) presented tight control throughout the play, from her banter with Brendan (Clancy Moore) to her gunshots in the final scenes. All the characters had beautiful moments of their own, but Conor Misson’s performance as Padraic, with his masterful portrayal of the emotions and antics of a madman, made the irrational story almost believable.

I left the theatre well and truly entertained, playing back the satisfying plot of the piece in my head. I could tell Turner had a strong vision as to how he wanted to present the script, and what the production achieved is of marvellous quality. The cast put forward a lively and cohesive performance, with brilliantly funny dialogue and a high standard of characterisation. It’s everything you want in student theatre, and I rate it a solid 4 dead cats out of 5.

Matt Killick

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is showing in the Guild Theatre at the University of Melbourne until 25 April, 2015. Tickets here: https://chook.as/flw/lieutenant-of-inishmore

Image: Daniel Lammin

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