“The Cripple of Inishmaan” May Win Your Heart
By Skip Sheffield
The witty and wonderful Irish play “The Cripple of Inishmaan” continues through June 4 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.
The Irish have a love of language and tall tales. Playwright Martin McDonaugh is the poet laureate of recent plays. Palm Beach Dramaworks staged his “Beauty Queen of Leenane” in 2011.
There is a beauty queen in “Cripple,” though she has no such title. Her name is Helen McCormick and she is played by Adelind Horan in her PB Dramaworks debut. Helen is a feisty red-haired lass and object of affection of the play’s title cripple, Billy Claven.
Adam Petherbridge is also making his Dramaworks debut as Crippled Billy. His performance is nothing short of astounding. Petherbridge turns his right foot out at an impossible 90-degree angle to simulate Billy’s disability. Billy may be crippled, but he is shooting for the stars. A center plot device is his trip to the USA to do a screen test as what else?, a cripple.
Director J. Barry Lewis, at his 34th time at the helm, has called upon an outstanding cast of supporting players, including Elizabeth Dimon and Laura Turnbull as gossiping aunties; Colin McPhillamy as the self-styled town crier; Wesley Slade as Helen’s somewhat dim brother; Jim Ballard as the kindhearted but volatile Babbybobby Bennett; Dennis Creaghan as kindly Dr. McSharry and Harriet Oser as whisky-loving Mammy O’Dougal.
The play is set in the remote Aran Islands in 1934. Scenic artist Rebecca Pancoast and dialect coach Ben Furey lend much to the Irish authenticity. Not a whole lot happens in “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” but it is enough to move your heart.
Tickets are $66. Call 561-514-4042 or go to www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.