Following a successful run in the West End, Olivier and Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh returns to the Atlantic Theater Company with his first US premiere in 8 years. More…
In his small pub in the northern English town of Oldham, Harry is something of a local celebrity. But what’s the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they’ve abolished hanging? Amongst the cub reporters and pub regulars dying to hear Harry’s reaction to the news, his old assistant Syd and the peculiar Mooney lurk with very different motives for their visit.
“The sense of good, old-fashioned suspense is heightened by director Matthew Dunster, who also helps delineate the spot-on performances by the four remaining cast members--and regulars at Harry's pub, with distinctive personalities--Billy Carter, Richard Hollis, John Horton, and David Lansbury. And then there's the ongoing rain and lightning--with marvelous effects by Ian Dickinson, for sound, and Joshua Carr, for lighting. Together, they add significantly to the scare factor of the evening.” Full Review
“McDonagh…again proves that, when it comes to sucking you into the vortex of a darkly funny, violence-tinted, dramatic world, nobody does it with quite the same reliably mesmerizing results…These things coalesce in a gruesome, wickedly funny, technically clever denouement highlighting McDonagh's themes of crime, revenge, and punishment…'Hangmen' has its feet in surface realism but, as devilishly well directed by Matthew Dunster, it's up to its neck in theatricality.” Full Review
"Criminally enjoyable...And aren’t we happy that Mr. McDonagh, who of late has mostly been otherwise engaged with movies, has reclaimed his mantle as the great deceiver of contemporary theater?...Directed with gleaming precision and grinning relish by Matthew Dunster...A happy-creepy reminder that Mr. McDonagh can still work his double-edged, sinister magic on a stage, making breathless, alarmed, and deeply satisfied dupes of us all." Full Review
"Martin McDonagh’s old-fashioned, engrossing and extremely entertaining new play...'Hangmen' is unquestionably one of the most exciting Off-Broadway productions of the season...This is a meticulously-plotted work containing interesting, well-developed characters and built upon elements of black comedy, pub drama, physical farce, whodunit mystery, action thriller, and legal drama...Finds the ideal balance between roaring entertainment and grim uneasiness." Full Review
"There are strong overtones of Orton and Pinter...I could quibble about the haziness of Mooney’s motivation, but it didn’t bother me while I was caught up in the play. While I don’t think McDonagh quite reaches the heights of some of his earlier plays such as 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane' or 'The Cripple of Inishmaan,' he has nevertheless written a play that is entertaining, disturbing, and thought-provoking." Full Review
"Cause for rejoicing from the playwright’s many fans. Newcomers beware, though. Like some of McDonagh’s other plays, it’s a bit of slow burn – with a huge payoff in Act II, where McDonagh’s gifts for melding black comedy, tragedy, and surprise come together with almost peerless skill...While a well-conceived and brilliantly executed plot is one of 'Hangmen’s' many virtues, the greatest pleasure comes from its more incidental moments...There are really no false notes here to note." Full Review
"A galvanizingly black farce...A deadly serious play that is also chokingly funny...Glitteringly well-staged...Not since Robert Mitchum slithered onto the screen in 'Cape Fear' has there been a villain (if that’s what he is) quite so charismatically repellent as Mooney...McDonagh wants you to think, and it is his genius to do so by first making you laugh yourself silly. 'Hangmen' succeeds triumphantly on both counts." Full Review
"A delectably dark comedy about injustice, revenge and man's instinct for violence, state-sanctioned or otherwise...Those bristling themes make this expertly crafted play a lively companion piece to McDonagh's 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri...McDonagh is back in top form here...If the later plotting becomes less precise, the dialogue crackles, the running jokes are devilishly good, and the characters are incisively drawn, providing choice fodder for an electric ensemble." Full Review
"The mystery is why Martin McDonagh’s brilliant, electrifyingly satisfying 'Hangmen' isn’t on Broadway right from the get-go...McDonagh’s command of language and pace is as mischievous as it is virtuosic; like Orton, he plays on words, subverts meanings, and knows how repetition and wordplay can work in glorious absurdity...These men have absolutely no idea what to do and now no power to protect themselves with. It is both quietly devastating and revealingly absurd." Full Review
"McDonagh's trademark black humor and violent depictions are front and center once again, making for yet another knockout production...McDonagh, a master storyteller, has laid out an edge-of-your-seat yarn that will draw both gasps and guffaws in equal measure...Keeps us guessing with his misfit characters, seemingly crafted as stereotypes until we discover they're not. And under Dunster's shrewd direction, you never see the plot twists coming. The cast...is to die for." Full Review
"McDonagh is an undisputed master of dark comedy. In 'Hangmen' he proves, once again, why he’s owed that title...The Americans in the balance of this excellent, ensemble cast blend seamlessly, though, and the play is unmistakably British...McDonagh’s worldview is decidedly grim, his finely etched characters steeped in moral ambiguity or indifference...A hilarious dark comedy about vengeance, packs the top-notch twists, violence, and laughs we’ve come to expect." Full Review
"Expertly directed by Dunster who never allows the play to pause for a breath...Addy is utterly charming as the boisterous Harry...Caulfield is a hoot as Pierrepoint...But the success of the narrative depends on Mooney...And through it all, the real star is McDonagh, whose skill at writing dialogue and putting well-drawn, unique characters in emotionally and psychologically challenging situations is unparalleled...A sizzling black comedy, one of the best plays of the season." Full Review
"Charisma and criminality blend so well in the character of handsome Peter Mooney that you might want to look away, but you won't be able to...I won't give anything away because the fun of following the proceedings as they twist and turn at Mooney's beguiling beck and call is way too much fun...It's dark, it's funny, there are gasps and twists galore. In this playwright's world, none of us gets off free of charge. And, frankly, none of us deserve it. The performances are uniformly smashing." Full Review
"This dark comedy lands firmly in inky black territory, at night, without the benefit of any moonlight while wearing an eye mask. 'Hangmen' is fantastic...Mesmerizing, combining terrifying thoughts and ideas with a liberal dose of comedy...The entire cast is superb throughout. Each character is distinct and realistic, yet theatrical. The words are even better, eliciting a 'wow' from my mouth on numerous occasions. 'Hangmen' is another triumph for the Atlantic Theater Company." Full Review
"A brilliant, new black comedy...Mooney, played with chilling insolence by Johnny Flynn could have stepped out of a Harold Pinter or Joe Orton play. He's one of the creepiest characters we've seen onstage in years...Dunster, who's managed a seamless transition to the Atlantic's multi-national cast, weaves a spell of loony comedy with genuinely frightening violence to create a gallows-humor production that could only have come from the pen of McDonagh." Full Review
"Flynn plays Mooney to perfection with just enough seesaw villainy and likely lad nerve to keep you guessing as to his motives...The exceptional cast, gamely directed by Dunster, triumph in anguish and comedy...When Syd performs a clumsy chair stunt to conceal ghastly suffering, it is a moment of after-dark Buster Keaton hilarity...'Hangmen' tugs at the rotten business of retribution at the same time as eliciting unrepentant laughter. It may be McDonagh's best play yet." Full Review
"The thick as Guinness dialect is dense...At times the audience might need subtitle...but much comes through loud and clear, with the scent of true authenticity in the characters' patois...Dunster impeccably ratchets up the tension...The morbid wit of this playwright is on full display. All the pieces of the puzzle coalesce, then separate, then realign themselves….but not in the fashion one would presume. Questions, doubts and gallows humor run deep in the 11th hour of the play." Full Review
"McDonagh’s darkly comic, terrific new play 'Hangmen' gives new meaning to the term 'gallows humor'...The dialogue, in typical McDonagh fashion, is simultaneously hysterical and tragic...McDonagh’s genius lies in his ability to make us laugh while we ponder 'big' issues. He holds up a mirror to humanity—and in most cases, the reflection isn’t pretty...Brilliantly directed." Full Review
"The first scene throws us quite quickly into the dark world...It’s a tense and electric scene, layered in twisted humor...'Hangmen' packs a powerful and dark humored punch that keeps you dangling on the edge of your seat...McDonagh’s writing shines as bright as the gallows is dark and deadly...Surprising us with a few unexpected, dynamic, and sometimes hard to swallow orchestrations and twists, all the while engaging us completely with a breathless and ferocious relish." Full Review
"Under the fastidious direction of Matthew Dunster, the ensemble work is slickly well-oiled in the best tradition of barroom plays...Despite the howling laughter earned at the expense of these northern bumpkins and their semi-literate discourse, there’s a black storm cloud behind McDonagh’s surface wit...It’s a treat to watch these antagonists, played with excruciating edginess by Addy and Flynn, circling one another with murder in their eyes." Full Review
"McDonagh's first play for the stage in ten years...Fortunately McDonagh's defection has not diminished his ability to shock and delight us with his gritty gallows humor...Add to the storytelling and staging pluses that the British production's director Matthew Dunster is on board to smoothly steer satisfyingly large ensemble...For all its darkly enjoyable humor, 'Hangmen' does send the audience home with a serious message." Full Review
"Anyone amused by gallows humor has huge entertainment in store, courtesy of playwright Martin McDonagh...More often than not, the head-knocking and blood-spilling in his plays often comes packaged with high hilarity...Maybe the thick accents take the edge off McDonagh’s latest stage achievement? Maybe not with enough of an edge to undermine this exhilarating play? Maybe." Full Review
"Thrilling and chilling, ferociously hilarious, and wildly ambitious...Dunster's production is so excellent, and so fantastically acted, that the imperfections are easy to look past...Featuring all of the characteristics that delight McDonagh's fans: spine-tingling savagery, unexpected twists, and some truly macabre gallows humor...Dunster has staged the play as a pitch-perfect thriller...Imperfect but engaging, and with enough exceptional moments to keep us talking." Full Review
"Spins an intriguing tale about 'truth' and 'consequences'...This tragicomic turn of events wobbles deliciously between slapstick and pathos and keeps the audience on edge...Under Matthew Dunster’s keen direction, the members of the cast uniformly deliver stunningly authentic performances that honor Martin McDonagh’s rich, dark approach to disturbingly significant themes, many of which are playing out currently on the national and global stages." Full Review
"Skillful misdirection plays on cowardice, self-absorption, malevolence, vengeance, and innocence…which is to say, you won’t see the playwright’s practiced hand as it repeatedly disappears metaphoric coins or manifests rabbits...One of the most entertaining and well crafted of McDonagh’s plays, 'Hangmen' is an ensemble piece. Director Matthew Dunster sees to it that every actor has distinctive personality affecting attitude and bearing." Full Review
See it if you like PBS style British comedies. The humor is dry and black. A play that does exactly what it is supposed to do - ENTERTAIN!
Don't see it if you dislike British humor, or can't understand British accents. It's not Monty Python, but definitely PBS material. Brilliant!
See it if You love smart, funny plays. Dark, but with moments of levity, terrific acting, fun plot with murder, kidnapping, and townfolk in a pub
Don't see it if You have trouble with northern england accents.
See it if you liked Three Billboards film, Martin McDonagh's plays, Brit culture, the 60s, ensemble acting, dark humour
Don't see it if you have difficulty with Northern English accents, menacing characters, capital punishment, gender stereotypes
See it if You appreciate McDonagh's mordant wit and bitter humor and love his take on ordinary Britons, who can't give up on their violent profession.
Don't see it if You will be put off by thick accents and don't like McDonagh's subtle satire, bitterness, and violence. Hangmen is not light entertainment.
See it if you are a fan of McDonagh’s plays, like plays with strong ensemble, and don’t mind a bit of gallows humour (pardon the pun)
Don't see it if you have difficulty with Irish accents or prefer your comedies to be on the lighter side
See it if You want to be completely absorbed by interesting, somewhat macabre characters...if you value great performances and masterful staging.
Don't see it if you enjoy uplifting, lighter shows. It's very heavy and sometimes quite creepy.
See it if love great ensemble casts performing fabulous writing & sharing a delightful & somewhat bloody story. Lots of laughs and some great surprise
Don't see it if prefer small casts or have a hard time with accents.
See it if Dark, dark satire that is so jarring, you can't help but laugh. Full of wit, humor and surprise. Great character acting. Huge standing O.
Don't see it if You won't like an extremely dark comedy with a serious theme. You can't enjoy detestable characters that serve the writer's purpose.
See it if You want to be thoroughly entertained by a well written play with all top notch actors and an extraordinary set. Funny. Quirky. Smart.
Don't see it if You don’t like quirky stories filled with small town/local eccentrics to provide a backdrop of humor and a way to see yourself differently.
See it if you are looking for a well-written, well-paced and well-acted dark comedy. Best thing I've seen in awhile.
Don't see it if you don't like dark comedies especially those dealing with the death penalty
See it if You enjoy Martin McDonagh’s work. Fast paced, pitch black comedy with an edge and always a twist. Perfectly cast.
Don't see it if You struggle with heavy British accents or don’t like your comedy dark. You’re easily disturbed by troubling themes and violence.
See it if you are a Martin McDonagh fan. "Hangmen" may not be at the top of his oeuvre, but it is one of the more entertaining evenings in town.
Don't see it if Black humor isn't your thing. Or if you don't like to see blood shed on stage.
See it if You're hungry for more great McDonagh writing, you want to see nearly perfect staging, sets, acting...doesn't get much better than this.
Don't see it if You don't like dark humor, you're looking for a life-altering message, you're not into British accents.
See it if you like crisp writing and a "did he or didn't he" plot.Acting is perfect. Set is brilliant.McDonagh takes you on a ride, great getaway car.
Don't see it if you are squeamish.McDonagh makes us confront the dark corners and see our role in creating them.He has complete control from soup to nuts.
See it if You like exciting theater with crackling dialog, beautifully drawn characters, and absorbing situations.
Don't see it if You have problems with violence depicted on stage.
See it if You're a fan of McDonagh's plays or want to see a well-written, well-acted mesmerizing drama that also has some laughs.
Don't see it if If you have trouble understanding British accents and don't like dark dramas.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies