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McDonagh and director Matthew Dunster said: 'Whilst we are naturally disappointed that The Pillowman can’t go ahead this Summer, we are fully committed to realising this new production in the near future. We have an extraordinary cast and creative team and can’t wait to bring this new vision of the play to audiences.'
Nobody merges bitter comedy and violent melodrama quite like writer Martin McDonagh. Hit men, murders and bloodshed are the mainstay of his film hits In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. And McDonagh's plays are just as gory: there's the cat mutilation of Lieutenant of Inishmore and the literal gallows humour in Hangmen.
McDonagh's 2003 play The Pillowman is one of his darkest, revolving around grotesque child murders and torture. Now the Olivier and Tony award-winning comedy returns to the London stage with a large-scale revival at the Duke of York's Theatre. The production will reunite McDonagh and director Matthew Dunster after the success of 2015's Hangmen.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson will make his stage debut to star. Best known for starring in the Kick Ass and Avengers film franchises, the English actor has pedigree with dark roles, having won a Golden Globe for his role as a psychopathic drifter in Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals. Taylor-Johnson will be joined on stage by Bafta-winner Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen).
Set in a Kafkaesque totalitarian state, it follows Katurian, a writer who is arrested and interviewed by two detectives. The striking parallels between his short stories and a series of recent child murders make Katurian a suspect. As the play switches between interrogation and reenactment of the stories in question, we discover how the writer's disturbed childhood shapes his work, and how fiction and reality entwine.
It doesn't sound like a particularly humorous scenario, but McDonagh's text crackles with the darkest comedy. There are also profound undertones as The Pillowman raises questions about the power, pitfalls and dangers of art. But that doesn't make the story itself any less disturbing – you have been warned.
|What||Postponed: The Pillowman, Duke of York's Theatre|
|Where||Duke of York's Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4BG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
|Website||Click here to book tickets|