Theater Review

The Lieutenant of Inishmore: Blood, Guts, and Cats

ACT’s gory black comedy is perfect for Halloween—if you can stomach it.

By Laura Dannen October 27, 2010

Irish terrorist Padraic (Fracé) mourns the loss of his cat in ACT’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Photo: courtesy Chris Bennion.

Never…I mean, never come between a terrorist and his cat. That’s Rule No. 1 in Martin McDonagh’s black-as-shoe-polish comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore —a hilariously twisted story of an Irish nationalist who goes mental when he finds out about the untimely death of his “only friend,” Wee Thomas. No one’s safe from the wrath of Mad Padraic (a spot-on hulk of a man, Jeffrey Fracé ), not even his father Donny (Sean G. Griffin) or his neighbor Davey (MJ Sieber).

While the satire is plenty sharp—kill the man, save the cat!—it’s the stagecraft that really impresses in ACT’s production; there’s enough blood, guts, and gore to compete with this weekend’s ZomBCon. Sure, it prompted a handful of people to walk out. And yes, I closed my eyes once…or twice. But there’s an artistry to the sound of gunshots by Brendan Patrick Hogan (loved his work in WET’s RoboPop ), and the bucolic Irish cottage by set vet Tom Lynch that’s splattered by blood night after night.

Think it still might be too much for you? Know this: Inishmore debuted in 2001 in Stratford-upon-Avon, in the capable hands of the Royal Shakespeare Company. If that’s not high-brow silliness, what is?

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