This is the first of the Druid Murphy plays I saw, as I seem to have booked them out of order! As they were not originally meant to be a trilogy, and do not have any link between them other than thematically, there’s no real starting point in which to see them. As part of the cycle, for those willing to do all three on the same day, Conversations on a homecoming is first (set in the 1970’s), with Whistle in the Dark next (set in the 1960’s) and then Famine (set in 1846, Mayo).
The setting for this play is Coventry in the 1960’s, where Michael Carney has started a new life for himself after leaving Mayo. Three of his brothers have since joined him in Coventry, and seem to be involved with the criminal underworld. The play starts with the arrival of his father, Michael Senior, and his youngest brother Des. Michael Junior fears that his youngest brother will end up in the same world as his brothers and the potential corruption of the young man forms one of the main themes of the play.
This is a bleak protrayl of life of the emigrant in England, and the battles they face to be accepted. In my mind the piece seems to miss a sympathetic character, as almost all those on stage seem badly flawed. It makes for an uneasy night at the theatre, but is very much as Murphy wants it, painting a realistic vision of people involved in crime, and where the roots of it come from. There are a number of stand out performances, including Niall Buggy as the father, and Aaron Monaghan.
Druid Murphy runs until next Saturday, the 13th of October and check out the final call page for offers.
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