Lace Market Theatre
The Pillowman by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh tells the tale of Katurian, a fiction writer living in a police state who is interrogated by two, possibly unhinged, policemen about the gruesome content of his short stories, and their similarities to a number of bizarre child murders occurring in his town. When he hears that his "slow" brother Michal has confessed to the murders and implicated Katurian, he resigns himself to his execution but attempts to save his stories from destruction, but then comes the twist!
The set is oppressive and slightly "1984" style with a futuristic tinge and resembles an asylum with it's completely brilliant white set, simply and effectively created by Kareena Sims, who seems to wear many hats in the production of this particular play.
I loved the lighting effects, again simple but oh so effective to create just that right amount of menacing atmosphere.We have Hugh Philip and his assistants to thank for this.
The four main actors are all excellent in creating a "nervous" and "anxious" atmosphere, Matthew Hunt as Katurian is thrown about the set, kicked and slapped into eventual submission in quite a brutal manner by his two police captors, Tupolski, played with a menacing cool by Richard Holmes and Ariel, the self appointed "good cop" in this good cop/bad cop situation, played by Adam Worton. But it is the violent Ariel who delivers the majority of the violence towards Katurian.
Michal, the "slow to learn" brother of Katurian is played sublimely by Ajay Stevenson. This role could so easily have been played really over the top but Ajay reigned this in suitably, which really created a very believable Michal.
There are two other characters who appear for a very short while played by Oana Ionescu and Valentin Ruscan who are just credited as "Girl" and "Man".
While the subject matter of this play may not be the subject of the next big musical, it is very entertaining with a lot of comic lines, and while the violence and language is not for the easily shocked, you will enjoy this play if you like the black comedy art form.
As usual for the Lace Market Theatre, they have taken one of those not so well known plays and have brought it to the attention of the theatre loving audience of Nottingham, and I for one salute that choice.
"The Pillowman" is performed at the Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 8 November 2014