Members say: Great acting, Clever, Absorbing, Great writing, Funny

About the show

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.

... Read 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.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"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


"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


"It might be easier to pity the hardworking gentleman at the core of Martin McDonagh's new darkly comic drama, who loses his job when his employer eliminates his position, if it weren't for the fact that the function of his profession was to kill people...Violence is accompanied by realistically dark humor, played expertly by director Matthew Dunster's company...Rumors of a Broadway transfer are buzzing about for this enjoyably discomforting production." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Fans of the Irish-English auteur will be reminded of the qualities that make his work pop. Nasty humor twines with sadism...Rather than pushing that potential into new territory, he falls into comfy conventions that he winks at, but which also function as excuses for a thin and implausible story. Dunster’s production adds to the sense of artifice, with lurching shifts of mood-lighting and a physical space that works directly against the attempted comic suspense of the play’s denouement." 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

Village Voice

"'Hangmen' is scaled to be a whale-versus-squid Battle of the Bad Men, and the whale has been recast with a pussycat...McDonagh's impressive orchestration of voices and his confident, suspenseful structure are still there. It's a solid night out for those who enjoy a bit of crawling dread alongside their jokes...Dunster is directing the broader characters to a balcony that doesn't exist, and his farce-choreography sometimes flattens out to a hieroglyphic line." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A little bit poky and underpowered, wedding a surprisingly old-fashioned thriller plot to a vein of humor...Part of the problem, I think, is that 'Hangmen' is populated by characters who aren't engaging enough to emerge from the onstage crowd...Much of the play's humor is lumbering and repetitive...A reasonably entertaining evening, but, coming from a playwright who has so often confidently mixed potent cocktails of laughter and shocks, it leaves us hanging." Full Review

Theater Life

"'Entertaining, well-structured, and funny, but it follows a familiar template and has little new to say...There are several hilariously macabre sequences...but the characters are too close to archetypes from other works...Dunster’s direction is slickly professional and well-paced and the cast exhibits exquisite comic timing...But 'Hangmen' feels more like a retread of familiar McDonagh themes and sitcom tropes rather than a frightening glimpse of humanity’s dark nature." Full Review

New York Theater

"'Hangmen' is undeniably entertaining. The plot is suspenseful and full of twists. The 12-member cast is stellar...McDonagh’s signature sensibility is in good form...The plot, as clever in its set-up and surprises as it is, will leave the literal-minded with some nagging questions. And, as with many McDonagh plays, the mordant humor, as funny as much of it is, involves a gleeful reliance on violence bordering on the sadistic." Full Review

Front Row Center

"We are served up a goodly portion of violence...There is cryptic humor, braggadocio, and the kind of bi-polar mood explosions that leave your stomach churning...I was missing a story that I could believe, and characters who were more than two dimensional. The performances were quite excellent so this lack of a larger sphere of dimension seems to have been an artistic choice...Perhaps I am missing the intention of the entire shebang." Full Review

Broadway Blog

“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

The Hollywood Reporter

"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 Wall Street Journal

"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

AM New York

"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

The Clyde Fitch Report

"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

New York Daily News

"McDonah is in comfort zone with his thoroughly entertaining but not completely airtight play 'Hangmen'...Flynn enthralls even when the script fails to make a case for some of his illogical actions...Under the direction of Mattnew Dunster, the whole ensemble is killer...There have been better McDonagh plays in New York...But 'Hangmen' comes out swinging and despite questions that arise about why some characters do what they do, the play ropes you in." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"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


"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

Theatre Reviews Limited

"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

Gotham Playgoer

"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

The Wrap

"It is vintage McDonagh, not just for its many Grand Guignol effects but for the ways in which evil is benignly wrapped around the most ordinary and normal of circumstances...Addy’s performance is so overpowering that it leaves almost no oxygen for any other actor on stage. Matthew Dunster’s direction, however, beautifully counters this force of nature with the far slyer, edgier performance of Johnny Flynn." Full Review

Theater News Online

"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

Woman Around Town

"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

Financial Times (UK)

"Under Dunster’s restrained direction, the rest of the cast keep the comic fires smouldering for nearly two and a half hours...Unlike McDonagh’s Oscar-nominated 'Three Billboards' whose plot struck me as scattershot and its dialogue as overly broad, theatre’s formal constraints here serve to rein in the author’s excesses, creating a gruesome sense of confinement. And while 'Hangmen' lacks the metaphorical richness of McDonagh’s greatest work, it’s still good nasty fun." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"Director Dunster treats the play like an old-school farce and it's a luxury to watch 12 actors hitting every beat just right and without any of them burdened with the indignity of having to double. But the biggest kudos have to go to the sets and costumes by Fleischle that are so witty they deserve a curtain call of their own...The intentionally lower-class British accents can be difficult to understand, which caused some grumbling." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if like your comedy British and Dark. Really excellent cast, interesting subject matter and twists that you don't see coming

Don't see it if There's no reason not to see this.

Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Great writing

See it if McDonagh in fine form w/period tale of ending capital punishment by hanging in Britain Favorite themes of retribution & redemption abound

Don't see it if Extremely well acted & staged despite some pacing issues in 2nd Act Tends to get a little too verbose (even for McDonagh) in mid-section

Funny, Clever, Edgy, Great acting

See it if Martin McDonagh's work always intrigued me. Hangmen is a fine play but less macabre than his usual. Dark, menacing, and entertaining.

Don't see it if Dark matter scares you.

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you like the work of Martin McDonagh. It was thought provoking, shocking and well acted. The actors are all straight from London.

Don't see it if you have a hard time with North English accents. The actors are straight from London.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Riveting, Great writing

See it if You like smart writing and perfect ensemble players. This is breathtaking, edge of your seat, theatre.

Don't see it if You are squeamish. Not for the faint of heart.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great writing

See it if If you enjoy a good dark British comedy. All the actors were superb.

Don't see it if Smoke bothers you. The herbal cigarettes made the environment a bit unpleasant.

Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of McDonagh ' s plays done with style and panache

Don't see it if You are expecting Beauty Queen or Pillowman , this is good but not as good as them

Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you're a fan of dark comedy/Martin McDonagh.

Don't see it if you have difficulty keeping up with British accents, don't like dark humor.

Also I saw this production in London and felt that it had an extra spark th... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like McDonagh's voice. This is pretty known territory for him few surprises. Mark Addy & Original cast members bring it.

Don't see it if You dont want to work. You want humor. The usual McDonagh humor is not here.

Edgy, Great writing, Humorous, Great direction

See it if You like a well written, dark, edgy and often uncomfortable humor performed by an excellent ensemble cast. Or if you can get a ticket.

Don't see it if You don’t like to have to pay attention to each word spoken to understand the plot or don’t like edgy drama with dark humor.

Intelligent, Intense, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if You are into dark comedies and the plays of Martin McDonagh.

Don't see it if You need a “positive” resolution.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you're a Martin McDonagh fan. It's fascinating to watch the interaction among his very colorful characters. And, it's a great story.

Don't see it if you have a problem with accents or dark, very dark, subject matter.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Riveting, Great writing

See it if McDonagh is as sly, clever, dark, and funny as ever. Taut and precise, with subtle, ratcheting tension. Perfectly executed, if you will...

Don't see it if The Atlantic's intimate setting makes it that much more intense, so a Broadway transfer may or may not work. Didn't look at my watch once.

Great acting, Must see, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Dark and subversive. Very Martin McDonagh. Stellar performances. Perfect staging.

Don't see it if Sold Out

Entertaining, Suspenseful, Overhyped

See it if you’re an anglophile & will enjoy seeing a small-minded, pompous jerk get what's coming to him in a surprising and satisfying way

Don't see it if for $90+ you expect a lot of bang for your buck—to have your point of view broadened/challenged, or see incomparable, career-defining work

Also My own fault I built this up too much in my head. These tix are above ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You want an outstanding cast, on an excellent set, performing a wonderful play that pulls you in and keeps you intrigued.

Don't see it if You only like musicals or farce.

Old-fashioned, Highly polished, Fine performances, Twisty plot, Memorable characters

See it if you like a dark thriller with chills and laughs (McD's specialty). Strong ensemble; standout Flynn. Not many insights, but entertaining!

Don't see it if you require deep thinking. H'men is for the plot twists. Some jokes fall flat (some land). Wild characters. Heavy accents. Great set.

Funny, Entertaining

See it if you are looking for an entertaining, fun (although a little dark) evening at the theatre.

Don't see it if you're expecting this to live up to some of McDonagh's other works like Pillowman and Beauty Queen (but it's much better than Behanding).

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great staging

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.

Dark, Ambitious, Intense, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if You appreciate seriously entertaining political theatre with a nasty sense of humor.

Don't see it if You don't like dark comedy or being made uncomfortable

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You like McDonagh's work, especially when it is presented with great actors & exquisite direction.

Don't see it if You don't like dark comedies.

Also Theater does not get much better than this show and production. I was ... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you enjoy dark comedies, period pieces set in the ‘60s, or British accents. If you’re a Martin McDonagh fan, this is up your alley.

Don't see it if you’re uncomfortable watching simulated hangings. I didn’t think it was that bad, but the woman next to me audibly gasped.

Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy great character acting. This could be a primer for Irish theater. Clever but not great play. you go for the performances

Don't see it if you are put off by reasonable heavy Irish accents that make understanding dialogue difficult at times. Or if you are upset by violence

Absorbing, Riveting, Great writing

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.

Also You can't keep your eyes off of Johnny Flynn in this - his performance... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You’re into McDonagh’s delightfully weird tale telling , fast talking, dramedy and uncomfortable subjects that make you think.

Don't see it if You want an happily ever after , bland characters and no uncomfortable subjects. Can’t understand fast talking Brits.

Cast & Creatives (18)