"Put the words of an Irish playwright (Martin McDonagh), into the mouths of his most gifted thespian brethren (the uncannily brilliant actors of the Druid Theatre Company and their masterful director, Garry Hynes), and a certain thrilling magic is sure to happen. Proof of this can now be found at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, in one of those rare and enchanted productions that will live in the memory of all who see it for years to come."
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"Murphy's very fine lead performance, notable not least for its brilliant physicalization of a simple physical deformity. There is a real heartbeat there, and a yearning soul that one ultimately embraces. The moment-by-moment attention to comic detail is eye-popping. The Druid actors, who deliver a striking large percentage of their lines out front, have created a bevy of colorful, amusing characters...All provide the audience with much fun."
"Wonderful...under the supple direction of Garry Hynes, the Druid's artistic director, the ensemble delivers bravura performances across the board. You laugh, you wince, you laugh again, you wince again. Mostly, you admire the playwright's skill at populating the stage with nine characters who are indelibly rooted in the particularities of time (1934) and place (an island off the western coast of Ireland) while also ranging across a wide spectrum of human nature. McDonagh displays an acute understanding of the way small communities, where everybody knows everything about everybody and no detail from the past is forgotten, can maintain a suffocating hold on the aspirations of their inhabitants. None of this makes "The Cripple of Inishmaan" sound funny, does it? But it is. McDonagh finds a vein of dark comedy in the brutal directness of the island's inhabitants, who are not necessarily mean-spirited but lack any of the usual social filters. But remember, don't get too comfortable."
"[One] of the best plays that I've had the pleasure to review...excellent in every possible way. Martin McDonagh [is one of] the most gifted playwrights of our time..."
"A Fiendishly funny sendup of rural Irish life. McDonagh's "The Cripple of Inishmaan," is being revived in a definitive production by Druid, the Galway theater company that has long championed his work.
"Cripple" is as gleefully vinegary as anything McDonagh has conjured- another of those wham-bam visits that whets the appetite for more evenings like it. McDonagh's people are as irresistible to us as they are nasty to one another. Hynes understands the conflict in McDonagh's characters, between their ingratiating lack of pretension and their violent and other off-putting impulses. And she finds actors who can play effortlessly with the tensions. They are impressive dramatic events unto themselves, each and every one of them."
" A funny, brutal and satisfying fable about the lies people tell, truths they hide, and the capacity for desire and disappointment. This production taps along sweeter than a troupe of Killarney stepdancers, fueled by Garry Hynes' keen direction and its impeccable ensemble. In keeping with great Irish storytellers, McDonagh has a knack for transforming mundane folks, conversations and incidents into something cunning, rib-tickling and observant."
"This 1997 comedy about a Hollywood fever epidemic in rural Ireland in 1934 emanates a hearthside warmth and coziness that could well seduce theatergoers...Cripple emerges as a subversive charmer that shows off Mr. McDonagh's skills as an expectation-thwarting master of knotted yarns. Cripple is driven by the inconsistencies of human behavior, which echo this equally sad and funny play's whiplash reversals of mood and fortune."
"This is a break-your-heart, cruelly funny evening directed with an exhilarating ruthlessness and acted with a bracing lack of sentimentality."
"Martin McDonagh's potent blend of humor and savagery is given additional poignancy in Garry Hynes' revival...pay[ing] close attention to the rhythms of McDonagh's dialogue. "
"Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan is as funny and sad and exhilarating a new play as I've seen for some time. Mr. McDonagh once again proves himself an adept story teller, with a keen eye and ear for capturing both humor and sadness."
"An immensely satisfying, over-the-top performance. For all its hilarity, and occasional violence, Cripple of Inishmaan is a problem play whose snappy dialogue only thinly masks the ongoing pain of its characters. As the stress of poverty and isolation bears down upon them, each lives a life of quiet desperation. Beneath the entertainment lie heavy hearts longing for lives that can never be. Druid/Atlantic's production of Cripple is bright, sprightly, and deep. With its dark, minimal but highly effective sets, the play unfolds briskly and irresistibly,The company couldn't have chosen a better
ensemble cast, all crisply directed by Garry Hynes. The Cripple of Inishmaan is a must see. It's brilliant, gripping drama, hilarious, thoughtful, and sometimes genuinely scary… providing English-speaking theater with its latest, and edgiest, Golden Age. No fan of contemporary Irish drama will want to miss it.
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