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Theatre / The Lieutenant of Inishmore

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A Black Comedy set during The Troubles by Martin McDonagh, author of In Bruges. It tells the story of insane INLA member Padraic who returns home to sleepy little Inishmore to check on the welfare of his beloved cat, Wee Thomas. Wee Thomas is, in addition to topping the list of things which will make Padraic go on a murderous rampage, Padraic's best friend in the world for fifteen years. Wee Thomas has also just met an unfortunate end through mysterious, but violent circumstances. So naturally, Carnage Ensues. What follows is a superbly hilarious and violent comedy.

Contains examples of:

  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Conversed. Padraic is convinced James Henley "pushes his filthy drugs on children." James Henley insists he sells reasonably priced marijuana to university students. To top it all off, Padraic is fine with James pushing drugs on Protestant children, but James doesn't discriminate when it comes to clients.
  • Bloody Hilarious: You may find yourself watching the second half of Act II through your fingers while laughing nervously the entire time.
  • Cleanup Crew: Donny and Davey are roped into cleanup duty once Padraic has finished with what's left of the INLA. It's a lot to clean up.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Only the word used here is "feck."
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Several instances conducted by Padraic.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mairead protests the cruelty of the meat industry... by blinding cows with her air rifle, so they can't be sold.
  • Comic Trio: The INLA characters. Christy is The Leader, Brendan The Fool and Joey the Only Sane Man.
  • Continuity Nod: It’s subtle, but if you’ve also seen The Cripple of Inishmaan, you’ll notice that Mairead and Davey Clavin are obviously descended from Cripple Billy and Slippy Helen - Davey takes after Helen’s idiot brother Bartley and Mairead combines Billy’s affection for cows and other animals with Helen’s habit of blinding them and her great aim.
  • Dead Pet Sketch: Specifically, Dead Cat. Extra specifically, Wee Thomas.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Davey and Donny aren't afraid for their lives, they can snark with the best of them. For example: Padraic and Mairead will be married — when Ireland is free! Says Davey, "That'll be a feckin' long engagement."
  • Downer Ending: The only characters left alive at the end are Davey, Donny and Mairead; and it doesn't look good for the two guys since Mairead will likely torture and murder them come the morrow for essentially causing the death of her cat, Sir Roger. And then it turns out that Wee Thomas is actually alive after all, and four men and two other cats died for absolutely nothing.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Kind of subverted, in that while being against selling drugs to children is a typical villain Pet the Dog, Padraic is only angry when drugs are sold to Catholics; he has no problem with them being sold to Protestants.
    • Joey, of Christy's gang, can't get over the fact that he was associatin' with cat batterers.
      • In a more meta sense, the entire play could be considered a deconstruction of the concept; it's highly clear that McDonagh thinks having arbitrary lines you won't cross when you do much worse as a matter of routine doesn't make you a moral person, it makes you a hypocrite.
  • Eye Scream: One INLA member, Christy, wears an eyepatch, because Padraic previously gouged out his eye- furthering the Black Comedy, he loses the other during the play. Also, when younger, Mairead shot out the eyes of several cows
  • Gorn
  • Guns Akimbo: Padraic
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Padraic
  • Hoist by His Own Petard / Karmic Death After painting the stage with blood to avenge his dead cat, Padraic has accidentally killed Mairead's cat. She blows his head off.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Mairead's a handy sniper with her air rifle after all that experience shooting cows and her brother. Averted with Padraic, who's a poor shot and prefers to blast people at point-blank range.
  • In Love with Your Carnage
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Averted. Mad Padraic and Mairead both love their cats, and are both dangerous nutters. However Davey and Donny, though they're furious at Wee Thomas for being the cause of so much death and destruction, can't bear to shoot him and give him a bowl of Frosties for supper.
  • Mexican Standoff
  • Mistaken Identity: The black cat that was killed on the road? A random stray. Wee Thomas is alive and well.
  • Multiple Endings: The play has two alternate closing lines, depending on whether the cat playing Wee Thomas eats food that is offered to it or not.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Mad Padraic.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The INLA to the IRA, Padraic to the INLA.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: To avenge Wee Thomas, Padraic will stop at nothing. Up to and including killing his own father.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Nearly everyone is dead, and Mairead is likely to kill her brother and Padraic's father shortly because of their role in the death of her cat. And then it turns out that the INLA people had only killed a random stray by mistake; Wee Thomas is still alive and well.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Padraic shoots his cell phone when he's mad.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: But who expects restraint when dealing with Mad Padraic?
  • Tsundere: Mairead is very dere for Padraic but tsun towards her brother; on the other hand, she is a Yandere, to the extent she isn't quite mentally balanced.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: "One word: splinter group!"
  • White Shirt of Death: Subverted: Padraic wears a wife-beater when he gets down to torturing, and it gets covered with other people's blood. Until he gets killed, and this trope is Double-Subverted.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Padraic after Mairead shoots him in the head with his two handguns at close range.
  • You Keep Using That Word:
    Davey: Them facts are only circumstantial.
    Padraic: These guns are only circumstantial, so, and so too your brains'll be only circumstantial as they leave your heads and go skidding up the wall.