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The DNA is not in the language at the Unicorn

Mister Killing it Murphy

Misterman-magI think Cillian Murphy has to get some sort of award for best use of the the Lyttleton Stage. Aided, I'm sure, by Lucozade or some other type of energy drink, his solo performance in Enda Walsh's Misterman somehow filled the huge stage in such an electrifying manner it almost took my breath away.

There must have been a wonderful sense of abandonment when he first realised he could run the full length of the stage, literally disappearing into the dark corners right at the back wall and  then also wildly fling objects around as part of his portrayal of Thomas Magill.

Thomas lives in isolation in a small Irish town, Innisfree and through a series of encounters either real or imagined (can you totally believe the narrative of someone who sees an angel?) a picture emerges of an evangelical young man whose mission is to set the town's sinful inhabitants onto the path to righteousness.

He sees sin in everybody and it disturbs him. From his home in a disused warehouse, his at times manic and yet ordered and obsessive behaviour hint at an oddness that steps beyond harmless religious fervour.

Indeed there is an underlying but gently growing concern about exactly what he might do and to whom. 

The narrative is broken up by the encounters some re-enacted others replayed as sound recordings with Thomas adding in his own part of the conversation.

Murphy's performance is startlingly deft switching characters in the blink of an eye. Portraying different people with subtle tonal shifts in his voice and physicality.

 There is also an admirable precision with which he times his pre-recorded conversations with certain characters - usually his mother. He draws you in from the outset and I was mesmerised throughout.

And I don't think I've ever praised the sound design in a production before but full marks must be awarded here for the myriad of sound effects, recorded dialogue and the perfect muddied disco sound that you only get when pop is being played in an acoustic crippling community hall.

Loved the humour and warmth that is layered with something darker and sinister. Loved the Jammie Dodgers dropping from the gods. And I loved Cillian Murphy for bringing it all so brilliantly together. It's getting 5 stars from me.

Misterman runs at the Lyttleton Theatre until May 28.


Only one actor to work with (PolyG dislikes me using technical staff) but I like a challenge. Well there is what I'm going to call a spiritual connection in that they've both play Konstantin in The Seagull but I can hear PolyG's disapproval of that from across the South London miles. So the actual connection is: Cillian Murphy was in Inception with Tom Hardy who was in Layer Cake which Mr W was also in.