Last night I saw the most amazing play at the National Theatre. Technically, Misterman, by Enda Walsh, is a one-man show. And that man, Cillian Murphy, is astounding. He plays Thomas Magill, a god-fearing young man living a sheltered life in the quaint Irish town of Innisfree. On the surface, Thomas gets on well with his neighbours, but his deep-rooted unease at their imperfections manifests itself as the play progresses.
Murphy handles this wonderfully dark, sometimes comic and extremely complex script with ease, baring Thomas’ soul to take the audience inside his troubled mind. While Murphy is the only actor we see, the staging, sound, music and lighting are a powerful support cast – almost characters in their own right, who Murphy very deftly interacts with. And he makes it look effortless, so you almost don’t realise just how much he’s actually doing. But the choreography and precision involved in carrying this play off is meticulous.
As much as I love film, Misterman is a perfect example of why you just can’t beat good theatre. To see such a great performance live, right in front of you, is an unbeatable experience. I gave Murphy a standing ovation and I only wish Enda Walsh had been there so I could have applauded him too. His scriptwriting and direction had me in awe. To me, this was a masterclass in writing, acting and production. I definitely want to see it again before it closes at the end of May.