A major drama was played out at the National Monday evening.
In all the Whingers’ many years of theatre-going, never have they experienced anything so tense, so immediate and so personally relevant.
There were moments of despair so profound they numbed the Whingers’ senses; and urgencies so imperative that adrenalin pumped through their veins.
Happily there was also hope, elation, redemption and a happy denouement which restored their faith in humanity.
And once Andrew’s lost wallet had been recovered they went to see The Walworth Farce.
But the wallet episode was exciting and Andrew offers his gratitude to whoever found it (probably at the bar) and handed it in to the National Theatre; and to the kind woman on the National’s desk who took the trouble to phone Andrew up and tell him it was safely in her custody.
So it was that Andrew arrived huffing and puffing at the Cottesloe with just seconds to spare (for the tickets were in said wallet).
The only person disappointed with the outcome was Phil whose face betrayed the cruel dashing of his hope that perhaps he wouldn’t have to go to the theatre after all.
Anyway, The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh.
Dinny (Denis Conway) is an Irish ex-pat living with his two sons in a high rise flat in the Walworth Road. He fled Ireland when his two boys Blake (Garrett Lombard) and Sean (Tadhg Murphy) were five years old following a traumatic death at home.
Since then the three of them have been holed up in the flat, going down to the streets only when absolutely necessary in order to avoid being taken by the zombies (we think).
Every day is spent play-acting a farcical version of the events of their past using wigs and costumes which enable each to play a range of parts.
Their routine is disrupted when a kindly Tesco assistant (Mercy Ojelade who gets the one laugh-out-loud line of the night) turns up with some misplaced shopping.
Phil and some 30 other patrons left at the interval. Andrew battled it out until the end, having been promised by a “well-wisher” that there was a coup de theatre in the second act.
The thing is that it just wasn’t the Whingers’ cup of tea. Yes, the second act gains some tension once an unwelcome outsider is introduced into the set-up but the first act was practically all the telling of the play within the play.
The trouble is that an hour of bad actors doing a bad play is far too long even when it involves good actors playing the bad actors (and possibly in a quite good play – but any goodwill towards it had very much dried up by the interval).
Our suggestion to Mr Walsh: Cut the first act down by at least half and ditch the interval. Oh, and cut out the horrible bit about the dog.
Still, what do we know?
‘A theatrical experience that claws at the imagination for days afterwards.’
‘The Walworth Farce is as brilliant an original as you are likely to see in the theatre this year.’
The New York Sun
An unsettling but exhilarating blend of the hilarious with the horrifying.’
The Irish Times
The New York Times
A thumbs up for desinger Sabine Dargent‘s wonderfully decrepit set which is possibly based on Phil’s own flat, although with nicer furniture.