Druid’s talented cast of eleven put in a two-hour performance the celebrated Irish playwright would surely have been proud of as award-winning director Garry Hynes sets out to re-evaluate and re-engage with his work.
Francis O’Connor’s set design, depicting a grubby and run down public house in County Mayo made out of wood and with a sawdust floor covering the stage, does not change throughout as the audience is introduced one-by-one to each of the characters.
The central storyline of The Playboy of the Western World is about a simpleton called Christy Mahon (Aaron Monaghan) who stumbles into the battered pub claiming he has killed his father, but in doing so he not only captures the imagination of the locals, but also the romantic attention of the daughter of the house, Pegeen Mike (Clare Dunne).
Monaghan’s decision to reprise the role of Christy Mahon was a good one as he plays the part brilliantly.
Without wishing to offend the actor, his appearance does help his character’s own questioning of why any woman would be baying for his affection as his big nose only helps to create a more unattractive look. This becomes accelerated by Monaghan’s choice of limping slightly and a constant vileness of spitting on the stage throughout.
JM Synge's poetic words are delivered by a cast clearly enjoying the opportunity to perform his work. Their energy and comic timing is very good when it is required.
Druid’s version of The Playboy of the Western World will not delight all one feels, which was reflected by some audience members who did leave early, however, for a night of pure theatrical enjoyment this touring production is for you.