Play not for the prudish

Not for the faint of heart, Martin McDonagh’s play The Lieutenant of Inishmore, playing at the Alley Theatre, promises blood, brains and comedy.

The acting is superb, but the brazen display of violence will not suite all tastes.

This play comes with a disclaimer for good reason. The grotesque depiction of murder and mutilation will have some in stitches while others cringe at the ungodly sight of brains oozing from the head of a mangled cat.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore centers on a ruthless Irish terrorist and his butchered cat, Wee Thomas.

Politically charged, the play explores the numbing effect of rampant killing spawned by fighting within the Irish National Liberation Army and feuds between subsequent splinter groups.

Modeled after Ireland’s own tumultuous history, The Lieutenant of Inishmore references the accidental murders of Australian tourists, disdain for the British army and the inconceivable bloodshed among Irish rebel groups.

The INLA, formerly the People’s Liberation Army, and the Irish Republican Socialist Movement were formed in response to the Irish Republican Army’s 1972 ceasefire. In its infancy, the INLA protected the IRSP -which remains a group of activists zealously promoting change – against the Irish Republican Army.

Initially, the two-part group sought a free and just Ireland, but their vision soon became skewed and their tactics despicable. Following a slue of civilian murders, slain British security forces and innumerable assassinations, the INLA declared a ceasefire in 1998.

The group has been linked to drug trafficking and organized crime, but the INLA adamantly denies any involvement. To further disprove their affiliation with criminality, the group has been reduced to the torture of petty criminals and minor drug dealers.

Although senseless killing was the political chant throughout, the life-like annihilation was disturbing and unnecessarily graphic.

Nonetheless, if guts and gore accompanied by comedic relief is your idea of a good time, then The Lieutenant of Inishmore is sure to please.

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