Daniel Radcliffe wins critical acclaim for The Cripple of Inishmaan
Compiled by Jack Foley
DANIEL Radcliffe’s latest West End venture, The Cripple of Inishmaan, has been roundly praised by critics.
Michael Grandage’s revival of Martin McDonagh’s 1996 play sees the former Harry Potter star playing a disabled orphan and runs at the Noel Coward Theatre until August 31, 2013.
It follows the widespread acclaim the young actor received for his last West End performance in Equus.
Set in 1934, the story follows disabled teenager Billy Claven (Radcliffe), who lives with his “aunties” on the isle of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland, only to be constantly mocked by the islanders.
He survives the tedium of daily life by reading books and staring at cows until the arrival of a Hollywood filmmaker on a neighbouring island offers him a chance of escape to a glamorous new life.
In a four-star review, The Guardian’s Michael Billington described the production as “a knowing play but one which Radcliffe invests with a sense of real feeling”.
He adds: “Radcliffe also has the precious gift, vital in a play full of narrative surprises, of seeming artful and vulnerable at the same time.”
The Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts was slightly more reserved in his praise for Radcliffe, noting that he shared the stage with “a beltingly good Irish cast who bejabber and begorrah away”, before adding: “Mr Radcliffe just about survives as Billy. Given the talent he is alongside in Michael Grandage’s confident production, that is an achievement.”
Similarly, The London Evening Standard picked out several of the ensemble performers, with particular praise for Gillian Hanna and Ingrid Craigie as Billy’s adopted aunts and Pat Shortt’s Johnnypateenmike and his mother, given “a sour fierceness” by June Watson.
The Daily Telegraph’s Charles Spencer, meanwhile, praised Radcliffe for giving McDonagh’s play “its much-needed heart”, writing: “Radcliffe brings a touching stoicism and simplicity to his performance as Cripple Billy, all the more moving because it is so understated.”
And The Independent’s Paul Taylor praised the 23-year-old actor’s “honest, sensitive, unshowy performance” even though his Irish accent was found wanting on several occasions.