The final curtain falls on the biggest ever world tour of an Irish play on April 24 when Enda Walsh’s modern masterpiece, The Walworth Farce, completes its epic seven-month global odyssey at the Sydney Theatre.
This production has toured through six countries and 22 cities, performing over 200 shows since kicking off in Galway last September. And yet, it is the journey one embarks upon while thoroughly engrossed in this magnificent drama that leaves the most lasting impression.
Miss it before it finishes its run in Sydney, and you’ll have denied yourself one of the most exceptional pieces of Irish theatre ever to take the stage in Australia.
Haunting and tragic, maddening and thought provoking, this production, quite simply, is theatre at its absolute undiluted best.
The uber-talented cast have mastered Walsh’s incredibly intricate material in such a way that it is difficult not to walk away from the theatre shaking your head in awe.
Set in a run-down council flat in London, two young Irish brothers live trapped – both literally and figuratively – under their father’s tyrannical rule.
A dark secret in their family’s past has led to a sort of madness in the household, so much so that two of the three protagonists never leave the sanctuary of home.
Dark it most certainly is, but with just four actors and yet no fewer than 13 different characters, this is a veritable feast for the senses and a lorryful of chewing tobacco for the mind.
There is laughter, and yet there is no joy. There is hope, and yet there is no resolution. There is truth, and yet there are but lies.
Trying to categorise the sheer brilliance of this work feels almost insulting to the mesmerisingly complicated tale it portrays.
A story within a story, and a message within a message, metaphors, farce, slapstick, pathos. They’re all there.
To many this may sound like a somewhat dreary undertaking, but anyone who takes the two hours from their lives to go and find out for themselves, will be ultimately the better for it.
The work of playwrights like Enda Walsh, and performing troupes like Galway’s Druid Theatre Company, keep the spirit of the theatre alive in an age of bubblegum cinema and soulless reality television.
And in this most ingenious of works, we are reminded of exactly why we should be so grateful for such a fact.
Don’t miss it.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, April 25, the Sydney Theatre Company’s (STC) Film Season kicks off its 2010 programme with a special screening of the award-winning feature film Hunger, penned by Walworth writer Enda Walsh.
Prior to Hunger, there will be an exclusive screening of John Duffy’s Brother, a short film written and directed by Mikel Murfi.
The action begins at 1pm in the Richard Wherrett Studio at the Sydney Theatre and tickets cost $10 and can be obtained by calling (02) 9250 1999.
by Aaron Dunne