Daniel Radcliffe Crippled on 24th Birthday

Actor Daniel Radcliffe was catapulted to fame as the boy who played Harry Potter. His story has become inextricably linked to the wizard. But he managed to step out of his own shadow and all his clothes and appeared naked on stage in Equus. Next came his singing debut in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying to take New York and the Broadway. On his 24th birthday, Daniel Radcliffe is set to play a cripple in the West End.

Daniel Radcliffe


Daniel Radcliffe plays the Cripple of Inishmaan in Michael Grandage's West End production in the Noel Coward Theatre of the play by Martin McDonagh. While the good people of Inishmaan think it a famous joke that the boy known as Cripple Billy has dreams of becoming a movie star. Billy's aunts agree that any girl who would consider kissing him would have to be both blind and backward. They have a list of what makes their nephew so unprepossessing; it's not just his deformed body but his face, eyes and personality, too.

Maybe you think that looker Daniel Radcliffe is not the obvious choice for that role. You would also think that a cripple is not the obvious choice for a leading part in a comedy. The two improbabilities go together exceedingly well. It works because Daniel Radcliffe blends right into the scenery on stage and the cast. Cripple Billy is an anomaly on Inishmaan. His physical deformity sets him apart from all other inhabitants. But on this remote island being bored is the dominant pastime. Billy is not so much an outsider as part of the same old landscape in the same old village of familiar and therefore irritating people.

Martin McDonagh’s uses the remote setting on an Island off the Irish coast to evolve a acute analysis of what makes humans tick. Nothing ever happens on Inishmaan, not even the news. It follows that the most humdrum gossip gets inflated into big and necessarily distorted news. When word spreads that Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is shooting a film on nearby Inishmore, the excitement knows no bounds. (The Cripple of Inishmaan is set at the time of the making of Robert Flaherty’s 1934 movie Man of Aran.)

Martin McDonagh revels in the art of creating myths out of nothing. He has a gift for inventing village tittle-tattle. He then takes is and through repeating phrases and actions gives it a liturgical cadence of strange memorability. At this point, rumor becomes truth. The play lives of this magic conversion of the word and of switchback narratives that keep changing directions on the spectator.

The Cripple of Inishmaan is the third production from the newly formed Michael Grandage Company residing at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End. The troupe is notable for its illustrious leading actors and actresses playing alongside raw talent and journeyman players.The two previous plays were Privates on Parade by Peter Nichols starring Simon Russell Beale, and the premiere of Peter and Alice by John Logan with Dame Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw. There is a treat to come in November with Jude Law as Henry V, too.

Further reading


Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Felton

Daniel Radcliffe