The 35-year-old Allen, whose older sister is the singer Lily Allen, is perhaps best known for his eight seasons as Theon Greyjoy on HBO’s Game of Thrones, for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 2019. Primarily based in London, this is the most time he has spent in New York since filming 2014’s John Wick opposite Keanu Reeves. “I’ve really fallen in love with New York this year,” he says.
One highlight of Allen’s time at the Golden Theatre so far has been the warm welcome he received from the Broadway community as a whole, especially in its first full season back. “Any sort of upheaval brings communities together and makes them stronger,” he says, adding, “It’s wonderful to feel that sort of support.” But if the expectation for Broadway’s return was a season of spirit-lifting, forget-your-troubles spectacle, Hangmen offers a contemplative and unsparing rejoinder to this, with a twisted view into the nature of justice and revenge. It sits at the anxious but compelling intersection of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, the Agatha Christie whodunit Mousetrap, and A Clockwork Orange, via Allen’s eerily chipper Mooney.
He first encountered the play during its West End run in 2015, when the role was played by Johnny Flynn. “I had to eradicate my memory of the performance I saw,” Allen explains, so confounded was he by the piece initially. “For me it was really about Martin and Matthew guiding me in the right direction towards doing my own thing.” He used music to get him into the mindset of the unhinged-yet-put-together Mooney: “I tried to see what visual images came up when I listened to certain songs,” he notes, among them The Specials’ “Friday Night, Saturday Morning” and Style Council’s “My Ever Changing Moods,” whose upbeat brass section felt particularly dandyish to him. The costumes by Anna Fleischle. who is also nominated for her set design, helped as well. Mooney’s well-tailored tweed jacket and slim dark tie and trousers are a contrast to the less considered looks of the other bar patrons; he maneuvers in and out of a mud-colored car coat with especially sinister ease. Indeed, his concern with his appearance naturally leads one to wonder what Mooney is hiding beneath the polish.