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The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Lieutenant of inishmore mcdonagh book cover methuen.jpg
Methuen cover
Written byMartin McDonagh
Date premiered2001
Place premieredOther Place Theatre
Original languageEnglish
Setting1993 on the island of Inishmore, County Galway

The Lieutenant of Inishmore /lɛfˈtɛnənt ...ˈɪnɪʃˌmr/ is a black comedy by Martin McDonagh, in which the 'mad' leader of an Irish National Liberation Army splinter group discovers that his cat has been killed. It has been produced twice in the West End and on Broadway, where it received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. In 2014, The Lieutenant of Inishmore was ranked in The Daily Telegraph as one of the 15 greatest plays ever written.[1]


In Ireland in 1993, the Northern Ireland peace process is taking its faltering first steps. Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) man Mad Padraic is pulling out the toenails of Belfast drug dealer James, when he hears that his beloved cat, Wee Thomas, is poorly. He heads back home to the island of Inishmore, where he learns that Wee Thomas is not sick but has been killed. Padraic, a man considered too mad for the Irish Republican Army and sorely trying the patience of his INLA comrades, is intent on revenge. He kills four people and two other cats before Wee Thomas is found alive and well; the first cat was mistaken for him.


Production history

Original RSC/West End production

The Lieutenant of Inishmore was first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2001. The production was directed by Wilson Milam.[3] In 2002, the production transferred to the Barbican, and then to the Garrick Theatre,[4] before touring the UK.[5]

Original Off-Broadway/Broadway production

A new production opened Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company on 27 February 2006. The production received Lucille Lortel Awards, including Outstanding Play and Outstanding Lead Actor (David Wilmot, tie)[6] with an Obie Award for Martin McDonagh.[7][8] The play transferred to the Lyceum Theatre, on Broadway where it ran from 3 May to 3 September 2006. The opening night cast included Jeff Binder, Andrew Connolly, Dashiell Eaves, Peter Gerety, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian d'Arcy James, Alison Pill, and David Wilmot. It was directed by Wilson Milam, who directed the original RSC/West End production.[9]

Subsequent North American productions

The Lieutenant of Inishmore has also been produced:

South America

The Lieutenant of Inishmore was first produced in Lima, Peru at Teatro La Plaza ISIL, running from 24 April to 1 July 2008.


An Australian production ran from 30 September to 18 October 2008, at the Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts in Brisbane, Queensland. The New Theatre at Newtown in Sydney, New South Wales presented the play from 24 April 2018 to 26 May 2018.[16]

West End revival 2018

The Lieutenant of Inishmore was revived from June - September 2018 at the Noel Coward Theatre. The production is directed by Michael Grandage and stars Aidan Turner as Padraic.[17]

Awards and nominations

2018 West End Revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2018 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award[20] Most Promising Newcomer Chris Walley Won
Evening Standard Theatre Award[21] Emerging Talent Nominated
2019 Laurence Olivier Award[22] Best Actor in a Supporting Role Won


  1. ^ "Best plays of all time". The Daily Telegraph. 28 April 2014. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Reiner, Jay (13 July 2010). "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore' a gruesome pleasure". Reuters. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  3. ^ Cavendish, Dominic. "Animal instincts" The Telegraph, 14 May 2001
  4. ^ Spencer, Charles. Devastating Masterpiece of Black Comedy" The Telegraph, 28 June 2002
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b c " The Trip to Bountiful Tops 2006 Lucille Lortel Awards", 2 May 2006
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Bloody Fun: McDonagh's Lieutenant of Inishmore Opens Feb. 27 in U.S. Premiere" Playbill, 27 February 2006
  8. ^ "2006 Nominations by Category", accessed 13 August 2019
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "McDonagh's Bloody Comedy, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Opens on Broadway" Playbill, 3 May 2006
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "The Lieutenant of Inishmore Begins Alley Run Jan. 25" Playbill, 25 January 2008
  11. ^ Hetrick, Adam. " The Lieutenant of Inishmore Opens in St. Louis Sept. 19" Playbill, 19 September 2008
  12. ^ Fuge, Tristan. "Jobsite Theater Announces The Lieutenant of Inishmore Cast and Creative Team", 28 January 2009
  13. ^ Bacalzo, Dan. "Berkeley Rep Announces Cast for Lieutenant of Inishmore ", 4 March 2009
  14. ^ The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, accessed 13 August 2019
  15. ^ Hurwitt, Sam. "Martin McDonagh’s bloody hilarious Lieutenant of Inishmore comes to San Jose Stage" Mercury News, 2 October 2018
  16. ^ The Lieutenant of Inishmore, 26 April 2018
  17. ^ The Lieutenant of Inishmore
  18. ^ The Lieutenant of Inishmore Playbill, accessed 13 August 2019
  19. ^ [2] ladramacriticscircle
  20. ^ "2018 Results | Critics' Circle Theatre Awards". 29 January 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Read the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 shortlist in full". 16 November 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Winners list for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard | Official Website". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 December 2020.

Further reading