Eldred Theater’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” advertises itself as a play about a crippled boy pursuing his dreams of going to Hollywood. The show actually covers so much more than this. In all actuality, Hollywood filming is a very small aspect of the play, and this strengthens the show.
“The Cripple of Inishmaan” is unlike any other play I’ve seen at Case Western Reserve University so far. It blended together so many theatrical elements, from comedic to dramatic. These dynamics give the show bursts of energy sprinkled with slow, crippling moments of tension. For the most part, this kept the audience on its feet. The humor brought out lots of laughs while serious moments delivered many gasps. For the most part, the audience soaked all this up, but there were times when the show seemed to fall flat and almost to a standstill. But these moments were balanced with extremely intense ones.
The plot focused on a broad range of characters, bringing in different stories and elements to the plot. From a crazy aunt who talked to stones, to a crippled boy who liked to stare at sheets, each one did not fail to intrigue the audience. Cripple Billy (Bradley Krapes) was a particularly interesting character. He is more than just an ill boy with dreams of Hollywood. He was a sad soul who kept getting dealt the strangest hands, and how he handled them was captivating.
Overall the play delivered more than I expected. The characters and plot were for the most part dynamic and kept my interest. The acting in general was impressive, though there were moments when the fake Irish accents seemed to slip quite a bit, taking away from the authenticity of the performance. Despite this, the two hours and 25 minutes are definitely worth sitting through.
Show: The Cripple of Inishmaan
Location: Eldred Theater
Dates: Feb. 26 – 28, various times