the cripple of inishmaan

18:35

I saw this a month ago today. How did that happen? Time goes too quickly these days. I was supposed to post this back in August, but things got in the way. So I'm going to do it now.

Michael Grandage has given London an amazing run of shows this past year. I've been lucky enough to see two of them, although, to be honest, I could probably have sat through all of them quite easily. I took my Papa to see Peter and Alice earlier in the year, and this time I took my Mum. Like me, it's probably something that she wouldn't usually have chosen to see, but she's told me that she's really glad we did. And I agree with her.

It's a hugely funny play. It certainly takes a little while to get used to an entire cast speaking in such a strong accent but, once you've settled into it, it only adds to the humour. I wasn't sure what to expect of the play, to be honest. I had read that it was a black comedy, but I didn't think I'd laugh as much as I did.

It's such a cleverly written piece of theatre. You're introduced to these hilarious Irish people who are constantly bickering and generally being rude and sort of expect the story to just be a relatively simple, yet funny, narrative. But it turns out that it becomes almost mystery-like, with very unexpected twists and turns.

And it is by no means a joyous play. Yes, it's funny, but there are moments where you have to fight back the tears. The tragedy of it is horrendous, most especially in the final scene. The ending could have been much worse, for sure, but you have still seen those lows. It's certainly very thought provoking.

Grandage has also been very clever in this season in that he has used household names to draw in an audience. I will readily admit that I went to see the plays mainly for the casting. It's what I do, and I think it's how theatre works. You either go to see a show that you know you love, regardless of the cast, or you go to see a show that you've got no idea about purely because of the cast. But I love that it happens, because it means that I've seen shows I would never have dreamed of watching. Radcliffe was by no means the central character in The Cripple of Inishmaan. He may have been the title character, but the roles were fairly even. If anything, he spent less time on stage than other cast members.

But when he did tread the boards, he proved that he's earned the right to be there. He's an absolutely fantastic actor. The sheer physicality of that role is astonishing, and he maintained that throughout the entirety of the performance. It's no wonder that he was looking so exhausted throughout the run - doing that for two hours eight times a week is no mean feat.

And word should also be given to Christopher Oram, the set designer of this season of plays. The set for Peter and Alice was the most enchantingly beautiful thing I have ever seen. And this set was perfectly basic without being dull - much the same as the play itself.

I have to say that if this season of plays does not win a single award in any way, shape or form, then there is something wrong. Give them all the awards. Every single one.

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