THE STORY: It’s 1965, and execution by hanging has just been abolished in the United Kingdom. Naturally all of Oldham, Northern England, wants to know what Harry, the second-best hangman in the country, has to say about it. As the news breaks, Harry’s pub is overrun with locals and reporters looking for a quote, until a visitor arrives with a darker and more mysterious agenda.
“Gripping, funny and dramatically tense, HANGMEN is a thoroughly great play… riveting from start to finish. Almost every line is laugh-out-loud funny, every moment filled with dramatic tension.” —Sunday Times (UK). “[HANGMEN] adds up to a stinging indictment of capital punishment but never can the case against it have been mounted with such blissfully disreputable humour in a work that refuses, to put it mildly, to wear its heart on its sleeve. …The immaculate ingenuity and off-beam symmetry of the plotting is a thing of wonder. …A flawless treat.” —Independent (UK). “McDonagh’s first play for more than 10 years is tremendous: a departure, and a deepening of his talents.” —Observer (UK). “…pitch-perfect… re-establishes [McDonagh] as the one to beat… this look back in sharp-eyed wonder at the grimmer side of the swinging Sixties doesn’t loosen its grip from start to finish. It’s perhaps the most line-by-line funny play London has seen in years. …[McDonagh] takes you brilliantly, without any crude coercion, to the heart of serious questions about justice and punishment—and the fallibility of the way we reach verdicts.” —Telegraph (UK).
“…ruthlessly funny… locates belly laughs amid an unfolding atmosphere of menace… Mr. McDonagh suggests that humankind’s capacity for violence exists well beyond the state sanction (or not) of capital punishment.” —The New York Times