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The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Playwright Martin McDonagh always said it was film for which he wanted to write, and now that In Bruges is making its way up the box office charts (#21 worldwide for the weekend of 2/22-2/24, its 3rd week of release), we may be seeing his swan song to theatre in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, currently receiving its regional premiere at Curious Theatre Company.

(Left to right) Steven Cole Hughes as Christy, Anthony Powell as Donny, Gene Gillette as Padriac, Matt Zambrano as Davey, Geoffrey Kent as James, and Michael Morgan as Joey
(L to R) Steven Cole Hughes as Christy,
Anthony Powell as Donny,
Gene Gillette as Padriac,
Matt Zambrano as Davey,
Geoffrey Kent as James,
and Michael Morgan as Joey
Photo credit: Michael Ensminger
If his present body of work (seven plays written within a nine-month period) ends up being the complete set, it may go down as one of the most impressive creative bursts in stage history. McDonagh's dialogue is always stellar, but what stands out in this piece is that he has upped the level of violence while mining the humor and absurdity of the situation to a degree that matches or exceeds anything that's been done in this genre: Just when you think enough is enough, McDonagh pulls a rabbit out of the hat and redeems the entire evening. Bravo.

(Left to right) Laura Jo Trexler as Mairead and Matt Zambrano as Davey
(L to R) Laura Jo Trexler as Mairead
and Matt Zambrano as Davey
Photo credit: Michael Ensminger
The story is peripherally related to the "troubles" in Ireland. Davey (Matt Zambrano) brings home a dead cat he's found in the road. Donny (Anthony Powell) frets over this, since he was left with the responsibility for the feline by Padriac (Gene Gillette), his unstable, violent son who carries out hits for an IRA splinter group.

Anthony Powell as Donny
Anthony Powell as Donny
Photo credit:
Michael Ensminger
Powell, who directed the Denver Center Theatre Company's productions of McDonagh's work, gets his just desserts here—wallowing in body parts and pools of blood that require a crew of five 2 hours (longer than the show itself) to clean up every night—and he relishes it, as his priceless expressions and impeccable timing attest.

(Left to right) Stephen Cole Hughes as Christy and Geoffrey Kent as James
(L to R) Stephen Cole Hughes as Christy
and Geoffrey Kent as James
Photo credit: Michael Ensminger







Zambrano's ditzy girly-boy impersonation is a barrel of laughs, while Gillette is electric as a hair-trigger psycho. Adding to the mayhem are edgy performances by Steven Cole Hughes, Geoffrey Kent, and Michael Morgan, and a magnetic turn by Laura Jo Trexler as the tomboy Mairead, Padriac's counterpart.

Gene Gillette as Padriac and Laura Jo Trexler as Mairead
Gene Gillette as Padriac and
Laura Jo Trexler as Mairead
Photo credit: Michael Ensminger
Director Chip Walton makes the most of every gruesome and hilarious opportunity, even to the point of using a live cat (Thomas) to blow us away in the denouement. Thomas is literally one cool cat under fire. Geoffrey Kent's special effects impress.

Curious Theatre Company's production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore runs through April 19th. For ticket information: 303-623-0524 or www.curioustheatre.org.

Bob Bows

 

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