At the start of the play we are introduced to two men. We get to see their daily ritual, and the strange games they play with each other, acting out characters from the town of Ballyturk, telling well rehearsed stories. There are strange disembodied voices coming from the walls, which they run to hear, and fail to interact with. They eat, exercise, play and sleep in this unusual space. It slowly becomes clear that these two men are trapped and may have never known the world outside this room.
The stage of Ballyturk is an industrial space, possibly a converted garage. There is a collection of furniture, wardrobes and lockers, most of it stuck to the wall, sometimes high off the floor. There is a shower in one corner and kitchenette in the other. One wall is covered in a variety of child like drawings of landscapes, hills, valleys and roads. The back wall of the stage is covered with a curtain, which is waiting to be revealed.
If you are a fan of theatre that has a clearly defined beginning, middle and end, then this is not the play for you. This piece starts in the middle, works to an end of sorts, while giving you clues of what the beginning could have been. It never gives you all the information required to figure out the puzzle, but as long as you realise that all the pieces of the jigsaw are not included, there is much to enjoy. From the initial moments this play seems like a two hander, but we wait for the introduction of the third, a menacing figure that will change their world for good.
This first production may end up being the definitive version of the play, with very impressive performances by all three actors involved. Murphy and Murfi are introduced as the slap stick comedy duo and at times literally bounce off each other. The introduction of Rea marks a sinister change in the mood, and he delights in playing this devilish part. This play is a step in Enda Walsh’s career. He has moved his work onto another level, and it is a marked change in direction from what has come previously. The play could take and be helped by repeated viewing, as you slowly try to piece together this highly impressive new work.
Character 1: Cillian Murphy
Character 2: Mikel Murfi
Character 3: Stephen Rea
Jamie Vartan – Set & Costume Designer
Adam Silverman – Lighting Designer
Teho Teardo – Composer
Ballyturk by Enda Walsh – Dates below
Galway International Arts Festival
Black Box Theatre – 10 – 27 July 2014
Phone 091 569777
Olympia Theatre, Dublin
book now 7th – 23rd August 2014
Phone 0818 719 330