Theatre review: Misterman at the Lyttelton Theatre

15:24 23 April 2012

Cillian Murphy as Thomas Magill in Misterman at the Lyttelton Theatre. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Cillian Murphy as Thomas Magill in Misterman at the Lyttelton Theatre. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

copyright Catherine Ashmore

Cillian Murphy fills the stage with dizzying performance in brilliant one man play

Enda Walsh has become renowned for his tales of dysfunctional characters in rural Ireland and his latest play, Misterman at the Lyttelton, continues the theme. Starring the bright eyed Cillian Murphy, the show is disturbing and leaves you feeling deeply troubled. This is not the first time the two have collaborated artistically, having worked together on Disco Pigs and more recently played together in a rock band.

Murphy is the sole actor in the story of Thomas Magill, who lives in a small Irish village called Inishfree. Thomas is a loner, a religious fanatic who sees sin and blasphemy in all the townsfolk around him. Despite his best efforts, they are not prepared to listen to his preaching words and change their ways. Murphy embodies all the characters himself, a feckless drunk, a flirtatious café owner, a pub landlord.

Before too long we realise that Thomas is actually having the conversations with himself. Having recorded the sounds of village life on countless tape machines – barking dogs, incessant music and the sound of bird song, he spends his days recreating his conversations and disputes with the locals.

The set created here by Jamie Vartan is nothing short of spectacular. With the appearance of an abandoned, murky warehouse, the set is colossal, dark and foreboding, bringing across the disturbed state of Thomas’s mind. And Murphy fills the stage well, buzzing about at a dizzying, frenetic pace.

Enda Walsh is a dazzling wordsmith and Murphy does a fantastic job giving life to those words. This is a brilliant play - highly recommended.

* Misterman shows at the Lyttelton Theatre at the National Theatre, South Bank, until May 28

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