What sounds like a silly as a supermarket trolley wheel romp, The Walworth Farce is a sinister story of history held hostage by homicidal patriarchy.
A father and his two sons have made a new life together in London's East after Dad has exiled them from the Emerald Isle. Their flight from Ireland is mired in murky murder triggered over disputed inheritance but Dad is in denial and insists the trio re-enact their previous life in a strictly scripted play performed in the privacy of their own living room, creating a bizarre blarney of cross dressing and culinary cock-ups.
The farce element is most in evidence with fast paced entrances and exits, but instead of connecting doors, characters appear and disappear through closet doors, in and out of a wardrobe world weirder and more nightmarish than Narnia.
It's funny at first, the frantic antic high theatrics delivering the absurd farce end of the world, then the facts get infected with false memory, fibs and truth melt and flow together like images in a dream, through the nightmarish narrative, a perverted pantomime with one of the sons perpetually a panto dame playing all the female parts of their parted and departed family. In The Walworth Farce, comedy and tragedy abandon the pretence of competition and become a double act, exchanging their masks so quickly as to become indistinguishable.
Director Kim Hardwick guides a distinguished cast in this exercise of farce and satire in frenetic miscegenation and undisguised misogyny. Laurence Coy is the demanding Dad, writer director of this macabre rewriting of family history, drilling his alternate version of events in fervent belief that repeated enough it will usurp truth. Robin Goldsworthy is fab as the frocked up, fucked up filial whose wig work and nifty shades of falsetto are a treat. Troy Harrison courts kudos for compassion as the son with a simmering rebellion, beginning to bubble and brought to the boil by his acquaintance with a check out chick played with exuberant bubble by Rachel Alexander.
Enda Walsh's script risks over-writing with its “plot necessary” reliance on repetition but the energy and intelligence of the production makes for riveting theatre.
Workhorse Theatre Company presents
The Walworth Farce
by Enda Walsh
Director Kim Hardwick
Venue: Kings Cross Theatre | Kings Cross Hotel, 244-248 William St, Kings Cross NSW
Dates: 18 May – 9 June 2018
Tickets: $37 – $32