Cillian Murphy in Misterman

Cillian Murphy

On Sunday, Mrs Yogic and I went to see Misterman by Irish playwright Enda Walsh at the National Theatre. Performed by just one man in the cavernous space of the Lyttleton, this is the most sublimely affecting theatre I’ve seen in years. Cillian Murphy is an astonishing actor and the star of two of my favourite films of the last fifteen years: Disco Pigs and 28 Days Later. He is at his best in this brilliant play about faith, imagination and memory set in smalltown Ireland.

His character, Thomas Magill, flits between mania and vulnerability, evangelical passion and childish nervousnes as he reconstructs one day in his life in Inishfree through a series of dialogues, some spoken by Murphy (who’s an excellent ventriloguist) and some recorded onto numerous reel to reel players dotted around the huge industrial-style set. This workshop-cum-prison, which might be interpreted as a physical representation of the unstable mind of Magill, is brought to life by some of the best lighting and sound design I’ve witnessed. I’m not usually brought to tears at the theatre, or compelled to give a standing ovation, but Misterman produced both. This play will haunt me for a long time.