Playboy of The Western World in the Abbey.
Right, did we get that out of the way?
The second thing I want to say is that if you like going to plays and you thought you might give this one a go, then for God's sake don't miss it. It is an absolute scream. Hilarious with a capital H. I know everyone uses the phrase 'roller coaster' but dammit it what else can you call something that has you laughing like a loon one minute and fearful the next?
The place was stuffed to the gills last night, there was not one but two Late Late Show Presenters on hands, actors and directors (hello Neil Jordan, Conan went to see your film you know), theatre folk, television folk and then us, the Joe publics. And I can tell you honestly everyone of us must have had aching sides leaving the theatre, the play is THAT funny.
Eileen Walsh who plays Pegeen has the comic timing of a professional comedienne. Even her little smug squeaks- like when Christy shakes off the prowling lusty Widow Quin- had the audience in stitches. But her Pegeen was more than that, she was woman trapped. Her bawdy humour, her front, was the only way she could deal with her life. Bored out of her mind, faced with marrying a sap, stuck in a never never world of violence, boredom, fealty, fear and loneliness, her vicious humour is both shield and weapon.
Giles Terera plays Christy, a Nigerian on the run with a terrible secret. One that once revealed gives him a fame and notoriety that sees Christy blossom from terrified fugitive to self proclaimed warrior and defender of the bar. His machismo is ridiculous, his story growing every more dramatic on each retelling. What woman could resist this madman? what man could turn him in? He's on their side, the lawless, the villains. Better to recruit than to fight.
Giles plays Christy with an an athletic, poetic abandon, weaving across the stage, leaping singing, strutting like a newly feathered peacock. Some of the scenes where he proposes love to Pegeen are a riot, where pumped full of bravado he offers to take her hand and walk her down the banks of the Liffey and 'through Blanchardstown shopping centre'. His stage presence is magnetic and his asides are so finely timed that the chap sitting next to me almost had a stroke from laughing.
I could go on. Angeline Ball as the lusty busty tart with a hart, the Widow Quin whose tabloid fame is a badge of honour, is a scream, the three young 'wans', with their Uggs and ever present mobile phones ready to catch any whiff of excitement and scandal, are her perfect underlings. Liam Carney is excellently as Pegeen's father, the right balance of menace and love and under-the surface-bubbling violence and again so very funny, as were this two Hench men, who had some of the best lines.
Olu Jacobs- Christy's father added the notes of grace and strength. His African dress and regal bearing shone like a beacon through the weasel world as his search for his son ruffled many feathers. The fight between father and son at the end, as each struggle for their right to be top dog was shockingly physical for the stage.
Pegeen's weepy realisation at the end was almost too much for me. How close she had come to breaking free, but like a caged bird she could not flee when the door was opened. Her final shaken 'fuck off' as the lights went down was heartbreaking.
And fuck off I did, home to have a glass of wine and try make sense of all I had seen. What a wonderful night at the theatre.
If you get a chance, don't pass it up. This is what the stage should be.
Now I must go ring CG and say thanks again for the great seats. Yay.
Labels: A night to remember.