Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Blood flows freely in 'Lieutenant of Inishmore'

Never was so much blood spilled on account of one cat until “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” penned by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh and presented by San Jose Stage Company.

Set on the Irish island of Inishmore in 1993, this absurdist drama begins when young Davey (Trevor March) finds a dead black cat in the road and takes it to Donny’s (Randall King) home.

The cat, named Wee Thomas, is the only friend of Donny’s son, Mad Padraic (Rob August), who has been kicked out of the IRA because he’s too violent.

Donny calls his son and says the cat is doing poorly, so Padraic heads for home. In the meantime, Davey finds a light-colored cat and covers it with black shoe polish in hopes of passing it off as Wee Thomas.

Padraic discovers the deception and plans to kill both Davey and Donny, but he’s interrupted when three men involved with an IRA splinter group arrive with plans to kill him. They’re foiled by Davey’s 16-year-old sister, Mairead (Carley Herlihy), who wants to join up with Padraic.

There are few survivors by the end, which follows some ironic twists and one of the most gruesome scenes ever staged.

As directed by Joshua Marx, the eight-member cast does well, especially the principals.

The set is by Christopher Fitzer with costumes by Abra Berman, lighting by John Bernard and sound by Steve Schoenbeck. Tunuviel Luv deserves credit for the props and blood designs.

The play is billed as “satirical comedy (that) jabs at the absurdity of terrorist mentality,” according to press materials. While that may be, it’s not for the squeamish.

Running about 95 minutes without intermission, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” will continue through Oct. 21 at San Jose Stage Company, 490 S. First St., San Jose.

For tickets and information, call (408) 283-7142 or visit www.thestage.org.