Defenders of the Faith – Civic Theatre – Review


Defenders of the Faith at the Civic Theatre runs until November 1st.

Set in a farm in Armagh in 1986, Defenders of the Faith is a story of a dysfunctional family heavily involved in the republican movement in the North. Joe has an uneasy relationship with his family. His wife is absent from their home and he is looking after two boys. He is a harsh man and there is little love between him and his children. The eldest son Thomas is no longer a child and has started to stand up to his father. Both Father and Son took part in a failed republican operation and now there are recriminations amongst those involved and talk that the British Army had information about the attempted bombing before it took place. There may be a ‘tout’ or informant in their ranks and the head of operations has sent his main man to discover who it is.

The all male cast has six members and they take up a variety of roles in the family and the organisation. The main focus of the play is the relationship between Joe and his son Thomas, and how the dynamic between the two is slowly changing as the son comes of age. Peter Gowen plays the role of the Father (Joe) and Michael Ford-FitzGerald is his son Tommy.

For a travelling production, there is a surprisingly complex set that changes from a kitchen to farmland and other locations. The back wall of the set rotates to create these different settings, along with the movement of tables, gates and other items of furniture in the foreground.

This is a cold blooded tale and there is little love shown between the various characters. The cast fight for supremacy and there is much to be read between the lines in their various conversations. The language of the play is very rough, with a constant stream of foul language, uttered as everyday speech. This play was written by Stuart Carolan in 2004 and was first performed in the Peacock theatre. Carolan has since come to fame for his work with Love/ Hate and this has caused renewed interest in his earlier work. It is difficult to make characters that are constantly battling with each other three dimensional, but the cast do an admirable job of giving these characters depth. This play is not for the faint of heart, but those familiar with Carolan’s work will not be disappointed.

Find out more about Decadent Theatre Company here.

Details of the cast can be found here.

Tuesday 28th October-Saturday 1st November: http://www.civictheatre.ie 01 4627477

Tuesday 4th November: Roscommon Arts Centre http://www.roscommonartscentre.ie 0906 625824

Wednesday 5th-Thursday 6th November: Dunamaise Arts Centre Portlaoise http://www.dunamaise.ie 057 8663355

Friday 7th November: Ramor Theatre Virginia Cavan http://www.ramortheatre.com 049 8547074

Saturday 8th November: Backstage Theatre Longford http://www.backstage.ie 043 3347888

Monday 10th-Tuesday 11th November: Glor Ennis http://www.glor.ie 065 6843103

Friday 14th-Saturday 15th November: Solstice Navan http://www.solsticeartscentre.com 046 9092300

Tuesday 18th-Wednesday 19th November: Draiocht Blanchardstown http://www.draiocht.ie 01 8098022

Thursday 20th-Friday 21st November: Siamsa Tralee http://www.siamsatire.com 066 7123055

Monday 24th-Saturday 29th November: Project Arts Centre Dublin http://www.projectartscentre.ie 01 8819613




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