Review – The Cripple of Inishmaan – Noel Coward Theater


Well, here is June and our third play of the first season of the Michael Grandage company: a show which, I assumed from the posters, was a one man jobbie with Daniel Radcliffe as the star. I imagined him grimly monologuing about his struggles as a handicapped person, but somehow got it in my mind we were going to be witness to a psychodrama in the style of “Beauty Queen of Leenane.”

Well. Rarely have my guesses from a title and publicity stills been more off. First, while occasionally dark, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a comedy. I thought maybe the preview-watching crowd I was a part of was just misreading the humor; but no, it’s pretty much comedy from the get-go. Bullying, madness, physical disabilities – what a laugh!

Second, Inishmaan is very much an ensemble piece, with lots of good interaction between the nine characters; Radcliffe is frequently not even on the stage. Instead, we get the charming and quirky residents of an Irish island town circa 1935: the dotty “aunties;” the aggressive red headed lass and her brother; the drunk; the loner with a boat.

This, in retrospect, is probably a good thing, as it’s Radcliffe who’s the weakest link in the production. Too physically healthy to be convincing as a cripple, he’s also mealy mouthed and a bit cutesy. Maybe he was just playing “Crippled Billy” for laughs; but I’m convinced the character had greater depths available. Or maybe Radcliffe just doesn’t have a knack for comedy. The role is both not a star turn in terms of time on stage, but also not one as performed.

That said, despite not being perfect, this is certainly an enjoyable show; and while the comedy is a bit too much at times, at least the jokes are genuinely funny. Overall, it was a good investment of my ten quid, and for the same price I would certainly recommend it.

(This review is for a preview performance that took place on June 11th, 2013. It continues through August 31st.)

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6 Responses to “Review – The Cripple of Inishmaan – Noel Coward Theater”

  1. Prince Jacon (@Prince_Jacon) Says:

    Daniel has always remained my favorite.

    University of Nigeria

  2. Jo White Says:

    You seem to be the one review I’ve read that did not like Radcliffe’s performance. Critics generally were glowing. Methinks you went in with reconceived notions and didn’t waver from them.

    • webcowgirl Says:

      If you look at my reviews, you’ll notice I avoid anything that might pollute my views of any play, actor, director, or anything else. I really try to keep my mind clear and open. So I am more often likely to have opinions contrary to other reviewers because I don’t have any pressure of expectations upon me, and I also am not worried about pleasing my advertisers or my readers. I only promise to be honest and share what I really thought. My guess is that you have preconceived notions about Mr Radcliffe as a stage actor based on your feelings about him as a film actor (or a person), and because of this, you don’t think my experience can possibly be valid. On the other hand, I actually saw the play …. and if you’re in Australia, my guess is you haven’t.

  3. al Says:

    The author of this article is an idiot!

    • webcowgirl Says:

      This can be proven to not be true. On the other hand … you’ve chosen to insult me as a person rather than deal with the points I’ve raised in my review. What does that say about you? Pretty unflattering, I think, .

  4. Review – Jude Law’s Henry V – Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre | Life in the Cheap Seats - Webcowgirl's London theatre reviews Says:

    […] (I saw them all, I stayed all the way through the lot), only one of them was actually worth seeing: Cripple of Inishmaan. I am angry at the amount of effort and energy that has been put forth in delivering bland works to […]

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