McDonagh shoots an Éire ball: Cripple's Aaron Monaghan and Andrew Connolly
Keith Pattison
McDonagh shoots an Éire ball: Cripple's Aaron Monaghan and Andrew Connolly

Hynes's cast fights hard for the real, but the showbiz temptations built into McDonagh's script constantly lure them away. Mullen and Molloy resist stringently, as does Andrew Connolly, playing the sullen boatman who takes Billy to Inishmore. Monaghan and Condon make a wonderfully sharp-edged pair of anti-lovers, though the handsome, magnetic Monaghan needs all his technical resources to make us imagine him as a bookish introvert who's been looked down upon since childhood. Only David Pearse, stuck with the burdensome role of the town gossip, slides too readily into the traps McDonagh's writing lays for actors. But no matter how truthfully The Cripple of Inishmaan is played, it's hard to see what truth, if any, its writing contains.

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