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Walworth Farce – Olympia Theatre – Review

Walworth Farce

Find out more about the Walworth Farce here.

The Walworth Farce was written by Enda Walsh in 2006. It is a play revolving around a council flat in London, where the three inhabitants try to rewrite their own history by acting out a strangely intricate play, to try and absolve their father of a crime that occurred long in their past. Brendan Gleeson stars as the Father Dinny, a thug of a man who solves most of his problems with his fists. The two sons Sean and Blake live in fear of him, with Blake having lived as a shut-in for many years. Sean takes a daily visits to the local supermarket to buy them food. This is where he meets someone who threatens to enter into their strange home life and end the eccentric status quo.

The set for the play is very impressive with a fully reconstructed council flat, with kitchen, living room and bedroom. The walls between the various rooms are broken down and cables stand exposed. There’s a window at the back of the set, looking out onto the balcony behind. It is a compact set, only using a fraction of the stage, and this serves to compress the action. No expense is spared in this recreation of their dishevelled, tacky vision of life. The set takes a beating through the performance, with much of it ripped apart during the play!

The music in the piece also deserves a mention, with a number of old Irish ballads being played. They capture the feel of an Ireland that may have never existed, but has become aspirational for the characters stuck in this flat and longing to return to the peace and beauty of Cork.

The piece is performed at a frantic pace, as the play within the play has each of the family members changing quickly between roles. Brian Gleeson takes on the male roles, and has a number of costume changes but nothing compared to his brother. Domhnall Gleeson plays the female parts and has to swap roles/ dresses and wigs between the various characters. If it sounds complex, it’s because it is. It makes sense while you are watching it though, and is easy enough to follow within the realms of their twisted logic.

The most impressive thing about this play is the acting of the three Gleesons, and that is the reason to see it. The two younger characters move at a frenetic pace, and pound from one side of the stage to the other, while their father Brendan broods and shouts from centre stage. It is a bizarre world that Walsh has created, and the fast paced performance pushes the actors to their limits.

The Olympia Theatre, Dublin | January 10 – February 8, 2015

Find out more about the Walworth Farce here.

You can buy tickets for the Walworth Farce here.

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