(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 1/15.)
Among all the surreal horrors of Enda Walsh’s turbo-charged tragicomedy from 2006 – a play in which a freak speedboat accident means that two people can be killed, quite conceivably, by the same flying horse – there is none quite as riveting as this: one Irish family are horribly condemned to live out their lives in endless performances.
These men are Dinny, a tyrannical and overbearing actor, whose two benighted sons, Blake and Sean, have followed in his footsteps and now grow resentful of his shadow. In Landmark’s sensational new production they are played by Brendan, Domhnall and Brian Gleeson.
The Walworth Farce was already pretty “meta” before it met the Gleesons. Dinny, an exiled Cork man holed up in a dilapidated flat in South London, has been staging a splenetic and crude farce about how he got there. As memories of the grubby truth fade, his two sons assist with the ruse, fetching props, assisting with stage management, and performing every supporting role for an audience of nobody. It’s as if repetition alone will finally make Dinny’s mangled version of events real. But, after 18 years of performance, cracks in the tale have become chasms. When a stranger from the outside world intrudes, a Tesco’s checkout girl called Hayley (an over-ebullient Leona Allen), a chance arrives to either escape, or be subsumed into, an awful fate: spending eternity in an Enda Walsh play.