The Walworth Farce | Druid TheatrePhotos - Keith Pattison

The Walworth Face
is full of contrasts and yet not where it matters most – between the stories and the real life characters. Perhaps this is purposeful, but it is also very confusing. As the director himself says this play is a “big ask” of the audience.

Irish playwright Enda Walsh has penned a brilliant black comedy that has toured the world. Director Mikel Murfi has put together a whirlwind of a production that aims high and almost hits the mark.

The Walworth Face is all that it claims to be – funny, harrowing, and a trip into the unknown as a father and two sons enact stories from their earlier lives in a small London flat.

This is a crazy, dysfunctional family in the extreme.

Druid Theatre’s production at the Adelaide Festival is frenetic, fun and fast-paced. It is also dark and depressing.

The actors are brilliant and yet sometimes hard to understand. The characters are rich and yet the pace so furious that it is as if the audience has been thrown into a maelstrom.

Michael Glenn Murphy is consummately menacing as the overbearing, aggressive and abusive Dinny, who is running desperately from a dark past.

Raymond Scannell is alternatively funny and disturbing as the son Blake, and Tadhg Murphy as Sean, provides a welcome link to humanity and the world outside this claustrophobic flat.

Mercy Ojelade is delightful as Hayley, the unwitting visitor from Tescos who stumbles upon this nightmarish family scene. She deftly brings some of the “comedy” into the black comedy.

The flaw in this production comes not from the actors who inspire awe as they frenetically move from enacting stories to real-life. The “big ask” comes in the lack of contrast between the characters in the stories and those in real life and the frenetic speed at which these roles interchange. This farce has a play within a play and the pace is so fast that it is difficult to understand who is on what base and when and how and why.

Nevertheless anyone prepared to sit back and enjoy the ride without fretting over the details is likely to be in awe of this freakish, disturbing and uproarious farce.

Druid Theatre presents
The Walworth Farce
by Enda Walsh

Directed by Mikel Murfi

Venue: Her Majesty's Theatre | 58 Grote Street, Adelaide
Dates: 3 - 7 March 2010
Tickets: $59 - $45
Duration: 2 Hrs (Including Interval)

Part of the 2010 Adelaide Festival

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