Walworth Farce – National Theatre 2008

By | 20 September 2008

Thoughts: A masterpiece of madness – though in the first half I wasn’t sure – it’s a farce, though dark. A play performed within a play. Some of the frantic moments of the play, within the play, so to speak, were less interesting than those quieter darker moments of the family shut in a Walworth flat.

You need to see the second half – so don’t leave at the interval. The second half is a masterpiece. I sat there thinking ‘how do you write something like that?’ – it was truly original and has stayed with me. Enda Walsh you get my vote

About: It’s a good question? When the games we play become real…when farce becomes darkly disturbing and tragedy looms. Two sons and their father move from Ireland to a flat in the Walworth road. The father fears letting them out into the streets of London except for the daily trip to Tesco. Each trip brings the same purchases.

Cooped up in their flat with nothing to do, they take to spending each day staging plays, dressing up and using the Tesco shopping as props. Competing with each other for the acting trophy, which sits on the shelf.

All’s fine while the lines are flowing, but as mistakes are made the father’s violent side emerges and he threatens his children, who unable to escape his anger or indeed the confines of the flat, they are forced to continue with the play rehearsals over and over again.

…Suddenly the wrong shopping is bought back from Tesco – all hell is let lose, the props are wrong and the father becomes more and more disturbed and agitated. The check out assistant from Tesco appears at the door in driving rain, clutching the right shopping but to her horror she is locked in and forced to become a character in the play.

Fantasy turns evil. The pretend becomes real…and all erupts into a tragedy…disturbing, delightful. A play within a play or just the play of life (it’s irrational) with all it’s madness and magic.

Should you go? YES. best thing I’ve seen in ages…