Here's DanRadcliffe.co.uk's review of 'The Cripple of Inishmaan', starring Daniel Radcliffe.
The Cripple of Inishmaan is a deliciously dark comedy, written by writer/director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths). Set on the island of Inishmaan in 1934, it concerns itself with a small close-knit, co-dependent community that is rocked by the arrival of a Hollywood filmmaker on a neighbouring island. Young, bookish orphan Billy Claven (Daniel Radcliffe) is instantly enraptured by the promise of the new life that Hollywood offers and dreams of proving that he is more than the name the island inhabitants have given him (Crippled Billy). The ensuing story is rife with twists and turns, keeping you engulfed and laughing for the entire 180 minutes.
Compared to McDonagh’s other work, this is a light comedy. Gone is the intensity of The Beauty Queen of Leenane (McDonaghs debut play) and gone is the cruel language and complicated story of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. Despite this, political incorrectness still runs through the play like a theme, and touches upon subjects such as Michael Collins with such whimsy that you laugh in spite of yourself. Despite all this, it is still a heart warming story about family and finding your way home.
Director Michael Grandage makes the characters shine past the Irish stereotypes that they represent, making for a gleeful cast. The island is small and self-contained, unburdened by the world’s troubles. Johnnypateenmike (Pat Shortt), who is the local gossip, wishes Hitler good luck after reading about him coming to power in Germany. Johnnypateen prides himself on having the best information on the island, trading important titbits such as a sheep born without any ears for meat and eggs, which he then takes home to his elderly Mammy (June Watson), a bed-ridden alcoholic.
Sisters and shop owners Eileen and Kate (Gillian Hanna and Ingrid Craigie) are the epitome of ‘cruel to be kind’. They are a sad but funny pair (declaring at one point that everything could end in “tears, death or worse”), but have Billy’s best interests at heart at all times. Armed with eggs and her comical brother Bartley (Conor MacNeill), Helen McCormick (Sarah Greene) provides a love interest for Billy, but playing hard to get is an under statement. Billy bounces back after each and every insult she dishes out to him proving, for a while, that love can be blind.
The star of the show is without a doubt Daniel Radcliffe. Playing a titular character sometimes presents problems, but Radcliffe shows no trouble in stepping up to the challenge. He keeps up a flawless accent throughout but yet never compromises on the emotion of his words. The disability of his character is never centre stage, instead quickly becoming part of the scenery. And the best thing is that he is playing yet another character that you haven’t seen him do before. He is broadening his range and you can see that he is leaving his Potter ties behind him; finally becoming the grown-up actor we all knew he was going to be. A great theatre future is ahead of him.