Even for a Martin McDonagh protagonist, Harry is an unusually prolific killer. He’s put 233 men in their graves. Yet Harry is not as delighted with his lot as you’d think: he’s merely the second-best executioner in town, and we’ll meet both in Hangmen (at the Linda Gross Theater through March 7 and expected at Broadway’s Cort Theatre a few weeks later). Any new play by McDonagh, the celebrated Anglo-Irish dramatist and filmmaker, constitutes an event, and this one is as viperishly funny as the norm. Considering the play in conjunction with McDonagh’s recent Oscar-nominated film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, though, is instructive and clarifying. What unifies the two works is breathtakingly unserious.

We open in familiar territory for a McDonagh work: a man is...

 

New to The New Criterion?

Subscribe for one year to receive ten print issues, and gain immediate access to our online archive spanning more than four decades of art and cultural criticism.

Popular Right Now