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Stars to Meet The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at the Gaiety

An ensemble cast including Alex Murphy (one half of The Young Offenders), Aisling Kearns (Asking for It, Darklands), Cillian O’Gairbhi (Blood), Don Wycherley (Bachelors Walk, Sing Street) and Paul Mescal (lead of the upcoming TV series Normal People) will star in the Gaiety Theatre’s production of Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore.

Directed by frequent McDonagh collaborator Andrew Flynn, the play will run from January 27 until March 14. While the Gaiety have a long history of co-producing plays, this is the second adaptation of the playwright the theatre will produce on their own, following early 2019 smash hit The Cripple of Inishmaan.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan did incredibly well,” said Caroline Downey, owner of the Gaiety, at the cast announcement on October 21 of last year. “It was a remarkable piece of theatre. It was beautifully directed and acted. The staging alone got an applause on opening night. So, we thought to continue on in the Gaiety producing our own plays.”

McDonagh began his career as a playwright with a series of plays set in and around Galway including The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996), A Skull in Connemara (1997) and The Lonesome West (1997). Having earned acclaim for his Irish work, he transitioned into screenwriting and directing with short film Six Shooter (2004) which picked up an Academy Award.

Since then, McDonagh directed movies In Bruges (2008) and Seven Psychopaths (2012). His latest Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) picked up many awards including Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes. The writer still works in theatre. His most recent plays Hangmen (2015) and A Very Very Very Dark Matter (2018) premiered in London, while 2011’s A Behanding in Spokane opened on Broadway.

Summing up the plot of the 90s set The Lieutenant of Inishmore, director Andrew Flynn said: “It’s a hilarious savagely funny play about Mad Padraic who has left Inishmore to become one of the head men in the IRA. But he’s too mad for the IRA and the one thing in the world he loves most is his cat. When his cat gets ill, Padraic makes a return to Inishmore and, in typical Martin fashion, everything goes kind of wild.”

Flynn told attendees at the cast announcement that McDonagh himself is involved in this production. “He was involved on the casting. Part of our journey was to try and bring a cast together that honoured the play and suited the ages of the characters. He’s excited about this because it’s the first hugely major Irish production that will play Dublin.” The play was not performed for many years in the capital due to its controversial topic and violence.

Newcomer Paul Mescal will star as Mad Padraic. Director Andrew Flynn was effusive in his praise for his leading man, an actor who just recently finished filming with Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson. Mescal will star in the filmmaker’s TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s acclaimed novel Normal People.

“Martin wrote Mad Padraic as a 21-year-old man. Somewhere along the line, the role seemed to be played by people in their thirties,” said Flynn. “When we started, we said: ‘Let’s go back to where Martin started.’ Luckily, this young man [Mescal] came into the room and blew us apart. He’s a fantastic actor. I can’t wait to work with him.”

Joining Mescal is Aisling Kearns, another star on the rise. She will play Mairead, a feisty teenage girl in love with Padraic. Kearns appeared on the Gaiety stage in the leading role for Asking for It and in Virgin Media One’s TV series Darklands in 2019.

On top of the actors mentioned above – Cillian Lenaghan, Desmond Eastwood and Padraig O’Grady will round out the cast. Flynn also revealed that on the play over 35 Irish theatre makers will be employed. Most of these have carried on from last year’s The Cripple of Inishmaan with the addition of ‘a special effects person and a prop maker’ due to the enhanced technical requirements of Inishmore. “We’re relishing the challenge,” Flynn said on the matter.

Tickets cost from €18.50 and are on sale now. They can be bought in person at the Gaiety Theatre box office and at Ticketmaster outlets, over the phone by calling 08 18 719 388 and online by visiting Ticketmaster.ie.

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