Broadway Baby

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Every family has its stories, its routine, and a place they call home. And before embarking on a tour of fourteen cities in four countries, the Druid family have come home to Druid Lane for a short run of Enda Walsh's The Walworth Farce. In the small space, the three rooms of Sabine Dargent's set are both the interior of a cramped, shabby flat on the Walworth Road in South London and the boxes of a comic book about to explode with action. The yellow patches on the moldy walls, we later learn, are the missing pictures of owners Paddy and Vera. who have been supplanted by Dinny (Michael Glenn Murphy), and his two sons Blake (Raymond Scannell) and Sean (Tadhg Murphy). There, they relentlessly play out the story of Dinny's last day in Cork, complete with wigs, costumes and limitless cans of harp. 'We're making a routine that keeps our family safe,' Dinny tells the boys.A fuse box gives Dinny control over music and lights; the kitchen shelves are heaving with Corn Flakes boxes, later to reappear as make-shift coffins, and rusty desk lamps provide spot lights for their own private performance. But today is different - Sean had an encounter in Tesco on the daily grocery run and has brought back the wrong props: sausage instead of chicken, Ryvita instead of sliced pan. Worst of all, he has also enticed back the check-out girl. Murphy commands the stage with an air of menace that has the boys quaking. The three actors are to be commended for the energy and verve they bring to the riotous action; the farce is hilarious, perfectly timed and, like the best physical comedy, tightly controlled. And amid the mayhem, there are poignant moments when we start to see the cracks of a family at breaking point. The looks shared between Sean and Blake after the latter begins to realize, 'Them bodies won't get us if we leave the flat?' and the moments when Blake watches Dinny and Sean reveal the truth of the past from the other room, through the walls he himself has destroyed. Under the impeccable direction of Mikel Murfi, the performances are as compelling in the moments of stillness as they are in the most frenetic action. The 'Mister Doubt' Dinny so fears arrives in the form of a black London girl, and her entrance gives a new impetus to the action. The babbling, innocent Hayley (Mercy Ojelade) brings the cooked chicken, the pink wafers and her visions of Brighton Beach. There are lines, shortly after she arrives, which suggest there is another dimension to this character. 'S'pose if I might get something out of it though?' she surmises, with a cheeky smile. While we may think she has the strength to really subvert the story, the character is never further developed. Quickly harassed into joining in the action, she is then forced to play herself in her own story and finally, overpowered by Blake when they need to tie up loose ends and bring their story to its inevitable conclusion. At times, Enda Walsh's script feels like a whirlwind tour through all the tropes of Irish theatre throughout history: emigration, attempted patricide, people locked into stories, prizes for story-telling. With this production, Druid ensure that it is also ludicrously good fun.

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The Blurb

It’s 11 o’clock in the morning in a council flat on the Walworth Road in London. In two hours time, as is normal, a father and his two sons will have consumed six cans of Harp, fifteen crackers with spreadable cheese, ten pink biscuit wafers and one oven cooked chicken with a strange blue sauce. Enda Walsh’s ‘ferociously entertaining’ play combines hilarious moments with shocking realism and delivers an achingly tender insight into what happens when we become stuck in the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.

Call Sheet

Enda Walsh
Mikel Murfi
Michael Glenn Murphy
Tadhg Murphy
Raymond Scannell
Mercy Ojelade

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