The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Young, Irish and totally hot, Martin McDonagh is a rock star among playwrights. Four of his plays have been nominated for Tony Awards, and a short film he wrote and directed won an Academy Award in 2006 (expect a full-length feature this year). About murder, sex crimes and oddballs, his work is wickedly funny and über-violent.

McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore, opening today at the Alley Theatre, opens with a cat lying dead on a table. While the death of a pet is cause for sadness in any family, in this case it might be cause for murder. That’s because this cat belongs to Padraic, a psychopathic enforcer of the Irish Liberation Army, who, oh joy, is out planting bombs in the name of a free Ireland. Padraic’s family and friends all dread his coming home, knowing he’ll exact a bloody revenge on them for the death of his cat. While IRA hit men and dead cats don’t sound like the basis for laugh-out-loud humor, in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, they are. And critics have thrown around terms like “brilliant” and “a triumph” describing the play.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore’s adult language and double helping of violence have earned it a “not intended for audiences who might be easily offended” warning from the Alley. Hey, sounds exactly like our cup of tea! 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through February 24. 615 Texas. For information, call 713–220–5700 or visit $41 to $51.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 25. Continues through Feb. 24, 2008

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Lee Williams