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A farce in the best sense for Brendan and sons

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Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson and Brendan Gleeson in the Walworth Farce

Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson and Brendan Gleeson in the Walworth Farce

Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson and Brendan Gleeson in the Walworth Farce

It is very much a family affair in Landmark Production's revival of Enda Walsh darkly deranged play, as Brendan Gleeson is joined on stage by his two sons Domhnall and Brian.

And the family should be proud, the dynamic between these three makes for powerful theatre.

In a disintegrating picture of both physical and psychological decay, a father, Dinny, and his two adult sons, Blake and Sean, live in a crumbling flat on London’s Walworth Road. Under Dinny’s megalomaniacal direction, they spend every day reprising the same farce that is Dinny’s twisted explanation as to why they left behind their homeland of Cork almost 20 years ago.

The lines must remain the same for them to survive in a typically slapstick farce involving cardboard coffins, Monopoly money, deception, seduction and Blake’s carefully shaved legs and array of wigs as he has to play all of the many female characters.

Sean is the bridge with the outside world, as he goes out to the local Tesco every morning to get the necessary edible props. But when he arrives home one day with the wrong bag of groceries, the carefully protected ritual begins to fatally unravel. Hayley, the checkout girl who has become aware of this awkward Irish boy, decides to bring Sean his shopping. But her unexpected arrival acts as a detonator to their fragile existence.

This gangrenous world is wonderfully created by designer Alice Power and lighting designer Paul Keogan. Directed by Sean Foley, there is an odd note struck with the introduction of Hayley (Leona Allen), she is strangely accepting of this bizarre scenario she finds herself in. And characters trapped in an endless cycle of ritual is a construct Walsh would refine and make all the more brilliantly surreal in Ballyturk.

But this is all about the Gleesons and Brendan should be proud, his two sons persuasively act him off the stage.


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