Entertainment & Arts

Martin McDonagh's Hangmen play leads Royal Court season

Martin McDonagh arrives at the Oscars in 2009 Image copyright AFP
Image caption British-Irish director Martin McDonagh won an Oscar for his first short film Six Shooter

Martin McDonagh, whose films include In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, is to return to theatre with his first UK play for more than 10 years.

Hangmen tells the story of "the second-best hangman in England" on the day in 1965 when hanging is abolished.

Directed by Matthew Dunster, it opens at London's Royal Court in September as part of the theatre's autumn season.

"We were very lucky to get Martin McDonagh," said artistic director Vicky Featherstone.

"Hangmen is deliriously horrendous, dark and funny. Martin is on brilliant form. I can't wait to unleash it on an audience."

McDonagh's theatre work includes The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Pillowman.

He won an Oscar for best live action short Six Shooter while In Bruges won him a Bafta for best original screenplay.

Hangmen opens at the Royal Court less than two months after Debbie Tucker Green's Hang, another play about capital punishment, which Featherstone puts down to "total coincidence".

"I never expected to do one play about hanging, and now I've programmed two," she told the BBC. "They both deal with the issue in completely different ways."

Other plays in the Royal Court autumn season include Linda, Penelope Skinner's new play about a 55-year-old woman "in the vicious world of the beauty industry"; and Nicola Wilson's Plaques and Tangles, about a woman with early onset Alzheimer's.

A play about two sisters fleeing North Korea, You For Me For You, by the Korean-American playwright Mia Chung, will also have its UK premiere in December; while Cordelia Lynn makes her Royal Court debut with Lela and Co, a play about sex trafficking.

Featherstone said the plays in the season were the "very best in fearless and excoriating writing for theatre".

Casting news will be announced at the end of the week.

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