Rating: ***/5Saturday, 1 March 2008.
It's not as bad as the hype. Leo Butler's new play set in 1762 Limerick is bloody fun at times, though it veers toward melodrama a bit too often.
Concerning family strife in Limerick, Ireland during the The Seven Years' War, when Irish Catholics were mistreated by their British Protestant occupiers and the Irish converts they took along the way, the play has a fairly simple premise.
Catholic Maryanne, mother to Ellen and Dermot, has mothered children by Lieutenant Coyle, who's renounced his Catholic faith.
It's punctuated with brutality, shit, and gore, so it's not for the faint hearted. And I'm not sure it ultimately makes the strong statement it aims for, but I'll Be the Devil has its moments, and those curious about Irish history will certainly relish in what seems to me a fairly vivid portrayal of the times.