UK-based writer Enda Walsh is no theatre-newcomer, but his work has rarely been seen in New York. This is a shame; he is a profound writer whose creativity can be shocking. This is also a nearly flawless creative team; from the unendingly layered acting, to the gorgeously dilapidated set, to the probing, tempoed direction. The largest flaw of this show? This is a very limited run (the production is on its way to London).
Review by Amanda Cooper
Woah. If this were to be a one-word review, it would be “woah.” The Walworth Farce, though just a four-character play, is a behemoth of a show in every way. This is a good thing – a positive thing. But it is also a event one should be prepared for before going – this is not some light and airy Broadway musical. And though you may laugh and cry, this is not a play of hope, but one about sorrow and desperation. So, woah.
A London apartment that seems to be crumbling away houses a father and his two sons, both of whom spend the opening of the play placing things and fixing their wardrobes just so. After a few minutes of doing this in silence, the three position themselves and begin, what becomes eerily clear, is some sort of play they are performing for themselves. As they continue (often taking breaks to make minor adjustments, or argue with each other), we learn this play is a daily ritual, and is in fact an embellished re-enactment of a day in this family’s life many years back in Ireland. The boys, Blake and Sean, play a wide assortment of characters that flap about the central character of Dinny, who is played by their father… Dinny. In fact, Blake and Sean also play the five- and seven-year-old sons of Dinny, Blake and Sean.
It's possible these three never leave the house, save for young Sean’s daily outing to the grocery store (where he picks up the same list of items each morning). Yes, the outward dysfunction of this family is mesmerizing, but it is the inward dysfunction, which trickles out in between scenes and within their body language, that is heartbreaking. And at the second act, when a fourth character appears, the dark undercurrents of their family secrets slowly rise to the surface, threatening to overtake the fragile world within the confines of this apartment.
UK-based writer Enda Walsh is no theatre-newcomer, but his work has rarely been seen in New York. This is a shame; he is a profound writer whose creativity can be shocking. This is also a nearly flawless creative team; from the unendingly layered acting performances, to the gorgeously dilapidated set, to the probing, tempoed direction. The largest flaw of this show? This is a very limited run (the production is on its way to London).
The Walworth Farce through May 4. At St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, 38 Water Street. www.stannswarehouse.org 718 254 8779.
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.