Two transfers - An Octoroon and Sea Wall - are they as good in bigger venues? Or a shout out for diversity.
Best (and worst) of London theatre for far...and the actress in two plays on the list

Review: Blood, dead cats and very (very) dark humour. Lieutenant of Inishmore, Noel Coward

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a deliciously dark, satirical comedy.

Cards on the table: I'm a huge Martin McDonagh fan. I like the way he makes you laugh about stuff that shouldn't be funny. 

IMG_9487He takes something gruesome, cruel or amoral and pokes fun at it by making it matter of fact, part of the domestic landscape.

And in that respect The Lieutenant of Inishmore is akin to a kitchen sink drama; the everyday life of a family living in rural Ireland but one of them, 'Mad Padraic' (Aidan Turner), just happens to be a violent terrorist, too violent for the IRA who won't let him among their ranks.

Cat murder

Think Father Ted with an unstable terrorist living in the parochial house. And the terrorist is a cat lover. And his cat gets killed.

Local teen Davey (Chris Walley) is in the frame for the killing - but more likely framed - and he, together with Padraic's father Donny (Denis Conway), hatch a plan to cover up the gruesome crime.

There plan is one that wouldn't look out of place in a Saturday night TV sit-com and it becomes a race against time to hide the evidence before torture-loving, bomb-maker Padraic returns home.

Proclivity to violence

But Padraic's problems don't end with the demise of his beloved pet, his proclivity to violence might just have rattled some other, mildly less unstable characters.

There is much that is silly and funny in The Lieutenant of Inishmore but at the end, there is more than blood on the walls and floor.

It is bitingly satirical in the way it questions the morals and violence of terrorism.

A question of morals

Padraic will torture any drug pusher but the INLA, to which he belongs, raises money through drugs sales.

He will rip toenails from the same foot of a torture victim so as to only damage one foot but will kill whoever murdered his cat even if they are family.

Aidan Turner brings a dashing charm to a man whose answer is almost always violence but he is not alone and there are degrees of Padraic in many of the people of the small island community.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a deliciously dark, satirical comedy but perhaps not one for the squeamish.

I loved it so I'm giving it five stars. It is an hour and 50 minutes with an interval and is at the Noel Coward Theatre until September 8.

For a bit of fun you might like:

10 Very British Theatre Problems

And some more of what I've loved at the theatre:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Donmar Warehouse - a teacher in her seductive prime

Julie, National Theatre - Vanessa Kirby plays an unravelling, modern rich-bitch.

Translations, National Theatre - language, storytelling and leaving wanting more.

Killer Joe, Trafalgar Studios - The good and bad about Killer Joe