Enda Walsh’s new play pairs him again with Cillian Murphy at the National Theatre. This time, Murphy is joined by Mikel Murfi as they are trapped in a large room, reenacting characters from the fictional town of Ballyturk. Their high energy, at times manic repetition of this daily reenactment is interrupted when a mysterious third member crashed into their world and offered one of them a choice to leave with him.
This is not a straight forward play. Walsh has layered it with so many ideas and imagery and it takes a lot of work to find them. It helps if one is familiar with Walsh’s previous works, bringing in the tragedy of the repetition reenactment and the peculiarity of a small town, interjecting more surreal moments to throws off period, time and location. It is not new territory for Walsh thematically and his usual flourish with language takes a step back from the excellent physical and clowning work from Murphy and Murfi.
There is hypnotic energy about the production directed by Walsh himself. The tragedy of life and the play’s commentary on it is tangential but tangible rewards are available for those who persevere and reflect.
Photo by Patrick Redmond