The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Beth Marshall Presents at The Garden Theater, Winter Garden FL
written by Martin McDonagh
directed by Mark Routhier
starring Zack Lane, Don Fowler, and Joseph Fabian
If your’re starting your own revolutionary splinter group, you ought to get a better rank then Lieutenant. At least go for a Colonel; the non-military types won’t know the difference. But that’s where Padraic (Lane) appoints himself in his one-man pecking order. He’s a psycho sadist too radical for the Irish Republican Army. Skills include cutting off toes and nipples and other superfluous body parts, but he loves his cat, which he left with his dad Donny (Fowler) and his long-haired loser brother Davey (Fabian). Thoughts of Wee Thomas (Mr. Bombay, that’s the on-stage cat) cheer him up while he’s of tossing bombs into pubs and torturing drug dealers. It’s also his weak point, and when Christy (John Michael McDonald) kills a cat and leaves it for Davey to find, they hope to murder Padraic. Good luck on that, boys.
The story may be brutal and the special effects Halloween Horror nights explicit, but there’s some outstanding theater here tonight. Fowler and Fabian have the potentially funny yet dark lines, and they press hard to balance out the blood and guts on stage. James (Adam Minossora) does his scene upside down in a wood cage with Padraic taunting him and threatening to cut off even more body parts. It’s some of the finest inverted acting to ever grace a central Florida stage. Lane’s Padraic feels balls-to-the-wall psycho; even his budding romance with young Mairead (Rachel Comeau) feels like it could turn into a blood bath at any moment. But you won’t waiting long for the krovvy, before the curtain falls the cast is busy cutting up body parts and putting lots of fake blood on the floor to confound the stage hands. It’s sure funny, and you will surely be ashamed as you laugh.
A quick scan of MacDonagh’s work shows a dark streak. The combination of persistent poverty, political instability and waves of alcohol in his stories push people to desperation. There’s little hope anywhere; Davey repeatedly expresses his belief he won’t survive to the final curtain. Donny accepts his role as the grunt labor when it’s time to dissect the bodies, and Christy’s gang seems lost when a small glitch in their scheme leaves them all blind. I thought their poor firearms safteywork would kill them, but what fun would that be? This is a much darker show than director Routhier normally tackles, but he’s done an excellent job of keeping all this horror just funny enough that people don’t walk out when the fake cat is shot. Buckets of blood here, and buckets of fun.