Nobody does hilarity and horror quite like Martin McDonagh.

And thus it proved in the Enniskillen Theatre Company’s suitably manic portrayal of “The Lonesome West” the third play in his Connemara trilogy that also includes the “Beauty Queen of Leenane” and a “Skull in Connemara”.

Nobody could ever accuse McDonagh of being sentimental-no, like Pat McCabe from Clones he prefers the dark side, mixing tragedy and comedy and obsessed with murder and the macabre-with blood and bawdy language. 

Many of the laughs in this riveting affair are like forbidden fruit-you feel that guilt and that is part of his genius as he mixes the beastly and the beautiful, and the music in the language of his Galway mother’s people sings right through the sustained hatred between two brothers who are constantly warring after the death of their father.

Coleman-a very strong performance from Michael Boyle and Valene Connor with Christian the epitome of a “vile” creature- are caricatures in a way-one is dripping in sloth and the other is cloaked in meanness.

Valene knows that Coleman has blown the head of their father “who used to be shouting at nuns” and in return for his silence, forces Coleman to sign over the land and the house to him.

Valene is a repulsive creature-a religious freak with all his figurines, and he controls the home and has no redeeming features.

Coleman is a repressed earthy passionate figure who hates his brother’s overwhelming parsimony-as they would say in parts of Fermanagh -he would “live off the clippings of tin.”

They are visited by the despairing Father Walsh-Welsh a sensitive chronic alcoholic who vainly tries to make peace between the warring siblings and who is powerfully portrayed by Paul Doherty.

The priest is despairing as there has been two murders and three suicides in his parish.

All of this is lubricated with copious quantities of poitín the “water of life” and owned by Valene of course.

Their quarrels are mundane- over crisps and the action really ignites when Coleman in a fit of rage cooks Valene’s Blessed Virgins in his cooker.

And then into this dark male repressed house comes Girleen-with hopping hormones, smouldering sensuality, sure of her young woman’s wares and selling poitín for her father.

Like many of McDonagh’s characters Girleen is a prisoner of a dark place and is in love with the tragic Fr Walsh and the scene between these two most unlikely of couples- aches with real tenderness.

They are sitting on a bench overlooking a lake where a man has just drowned.

Fr Walsh writes a poignant letter to the fighting brothers imploring them to make up their differences.

He poured his troubled soul into the letter which is read by Girleen on stage which adds to the pathos and then he too drowns in the same lake.

The theme of suicide as a crime runs right through the play and Girleen delivers the letter to the brothers and then tells them that he has taken his own life.

Her earthy teasing has been replaced with dark sorrow and Clodagh Sweeney conveys this in spades.

The brothers are chastened by the priest’s letter in which he poured his soul and a brief truce breaks out when they come back from his funeral.

In a fit of remorse Valene says he will share the house and the land with Coleman and then they start confessing to each other about all the tricks they played on each other and issue a litany of competing apologies for past wrongs.

But McDonagh does not do happy endings, and Valene’s loses the head when Coleman tells him that it was he who cut the ears off his beloved dog and the play ends with Valene and Coleman using a gun and a knife to try and kill each other with Coleman being chased from the house.

This was a powerful production and well performed and it is not an easy play to perform.

Both brothers may be profane, but adjudicator Aodh McCay said you could feel they were vulnerable too.

Michael Boyle as Coleman Connor conveys all the anthems of the lost in his initial battle with his brother Valene (Christian Carbin) and the latter is just obnoxious to the bitter end. 

GIrleen (Clodagh Sweeney) brings huge energy to the production while Paul Doherty as Father Walsh gives a compelling performance as a truly tortured soul.

And, McDonagh can gently open wounds with all the skill of a surgeon and presenting them in all their naked gore and glory.