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Theater Review: The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a Bloody Good Time

Inishmore Photo 2.jpg
Chris Pine and Brett Ryback star in the black comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Center Theater Group/Mark Taper Forum. | Photo: Craig Schwartz
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By Terry Morgan for LAist

There are two things that the average American audience member might notice about playwright Martin McDonagh’s work. The first is that his characters like to say “feck” a lot--an Irish variation on our much beloved “f-word.” The second is that the people in the plays, from the homicidal brothers of The Lonesome West to the manipulative mother of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, tend to be bastards. All that, however, was just a warm-up for the sanguinary joys of The Lieutenant of Inishmore, a pitch-black comedy that serves up its violence with manic glee. The new production at the Taper is both horrifying and hilarious--not a show for the squeamish--but for the rest of us, it’s a dark delight.

In 1993 in the small Irish town of Inishmore, teenaged Davey (Coby Getzug) has brought something unpleasant into Donny’s (Séan G. Griffin) home. It’s a dead black cat, and the only black cat they know is Wee Thomas, the cat Donny is supposed to be looking after for his son Padraic (Chris Pine). Unfortunately, Padraic is a crazy bomb-thrower for an IRA splinter group, and Wee Thomas is the thing he loves most in the world. Donny and Davey, panicked, decide to kidnap another cat and paint it black, then pass it off as Wee Thomas. When Padraic gets a phone call from Donny that Thomas is doing poorly, he is overwhelmed with concern and starts traveling back to Inishmore. Teenage terrorist wannabe Mairead (Zoe Perry) hopes that Padraic will accept her into his splinter group, but the other members of the faction, led by the vengeful Christy (Andrew Connolly), are intending to assassinate the loose cannon when he arrives home.