Broadway Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Guide
by Whitney Spaner, 12/09/2013
Photo: Johan Persson
The Cripple of Inishmaan
Irish playwright Martin McDonagh is known for black comedies in which the stage (and sometimes the audience) ends up splattered with blood: a mother is bludgeoned to death with a poker in The Beauty Queen of Leenane; body parts are flung about like confetti in A Behanding in Spokane; and cats are killed and corpses mutilated in The Lieutenant of Inishmore. However, many critics point to his 1996 play The Cripple of Inishmaan as proof that McDonagh has a softer side. The production follows the town gimp, Cripple Billy, as he tries to woo the meanest girl in Ireland's small Aran Islands community—and at the same time secure a role in the Hollywood production of Man of Aran (a faux documentary that was filmed nearby in the 1930s). This play is in many ways more sentimental than his previous works, but you can save the tissues for Bridges of Madison County. This is McDonagh, after all, and his characters (with names like Slippy Helen, Babbybobby and Johnnypateenmike) have a thoughtful and sweet side that is matched by their proclivities for mischief and cynicism. Daniel Radcliffe, who in the past few years has chosen the stage as a place to distance himself from the Harry Potter franchise, stars as Cripple Billy, a role he played in London last summer to sold-out crowds. That production, directed by Tony winner Michael Grandage, is transferring to Broadway with its British cast (and their limbs) fully intact.
Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St. Previews start April 12; opens April 20.