Home Theatre REVIEW: The Pillowman on the Duke of York’s Theatre

REVIEW: The Pillowman on the Duke of York’s Theatre

REVIEW: The Pillowman on the Duke of York’s Theatre


Martin McDonagh has written some extraordinary performs often primarily based round an Irish setting with darkish comedy spoken by fascinating characters and gripping sudden plots. His 2003 play The Pillowman which first starred David Tennant as Katurian is now revived by the great Empire Avenue productions with Lily Allen returning to the West Finish within the central position. You understand what to anticipate while you purchase a ticket for one in every of his performs, a singular mixture of brilliantly humorous strains and grotesquely violent interactions. It isn’t for the faint-hearted or these simply offended by the language or very disagreeable tales and violence. 

This manufacturing engages us due to the beautiful performances of the 4 central characters and spectacular staging which brings all of it to life. Lily Allen is the creator Katurian Okay Katurian who has written 400 tales however solely had 1 revealed. They’re a contemporary assortment within the model of the Brothers Grimm Tales, darkish morality tales with sinister themes. After we meet her, she is being Interviewed by the lead detective, and good cop, Tupolski, a splendidly nuanced efficiency by Steve Pemberton and his violent and impulsive dangerous cop sidekick Ariel, a frighteningly menacing Paul Kaye a few collection of copycat murders primarily based on her tales. Her brother Michal is performed with convincingly emotional depth by Matthew Tennyson, can be arrested and we’re unsure whether or not he’s a fantasist, confederate or performing out the tales. 

The intelligent staging means we see Katurian threatened and interviewed in a single room, reveal the reality of her relationship together with her brother in one other and see quick inset mimed scenes primarily based on her tales. There’s some very efficient graphical projection to boost the tales. It means they arrive chillingly to life and reveal hidden depths, however it’s uncomfortable viewing of suffocation by pillows, crucifixion, burial alive and execution. We by no means have any sympathy for the 4 central characters though naturally really feel concern for the younger actresses and the women they play within the tales. The lengthy passages of learn tales do sluggish the tempo and your thoughts wanders to what Martin McDonagh’s intention was past surprising his viewers. 

The Programme promotes PEN Worldwide, an organisation devoted to celebrating literature and defending freedom of expression and Katurian want to make sure her work stays after she has gone as she battles persecution from the 2 integrators performs to this. However then again, what angle ought to we now have towards writing that promotes violence or is liable to trigger copycat murders by those that wrestle to tell apart truth from fiction, certainly some type of monitoring and censorship is required? Selling understanding of cultures and even arguing for peaceable regime change is one factor however presenting sadistic murders in tales is one thing totally different. At the least we on this nation could make our personal minds up whether or not to learn or see these tales.

This can be a dramatic piece and those that know McDonagh’s work will know what to anticipate. In Steve Pemberton and Paul Kaye, the manufacturing has a grasp class in a double act that turns from comical to horrific in a matter of strains and there are many huge laughs and loud gasps. As Tupolski says we should “draw our personal conclusions, it’s our job”. This isn’t a play to guide for with out being absolutely conscious of its model and content material however in the event you do go you may a minimum of draw your personal conclusions and in some nations that’s merely not doable. If you’re a fan of McDonagh, Lilly Allen or Steve Pemberton then you’ll already know that it will be value going earlier than it closes on 2nd September.

Evaluation by Nick Wayne

Ranking: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls, Row B | Value of Ticket: £135



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