Best Stage Production

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

"It was too bloody," someone was heard to complain. Perhaps some thought it was. But to intrepid viewers made of sterner stuff, this Irish yarn about (among other things) the love of a man for his cat was, to put it mildly, bloody terrific. Not that there is anything mild concerning Martin McDonagh's dizzying parable about the incessant violence that has wracked Ireland for far too long. After Rep artistic director Steven Woolf chose to produce this outrageous comedy, he did something really smart: He essentially turned over the production to a group of artists who already had staged Inishmore to great acclaim at the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. Woolf wasn't interested in booking a touring show. Rather, he allowed director Stuart Carden and his scenic, lighting, sound and special-effects designers to use the Rep as a venue where they could build on their initial success to rethink and deepen the piece. St. Louis audiences were the beneficiaries of that Pittsburgh tryout. "Worse and worse this story gets," one of the characters bemoaned as the events spiraled out of control. But the story they were telling — and how they chose to tell it — only got better and better.

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