Christy Mahon wanders into a pub on a cold winter's night with a tale to tell. Claiming to have murdered his father, he soon becomes the talk of the village. This skinny, dirty-faced youth suddenly turns into a hero and ends up being much lusted after by the local women of the village. Once the truth is out, he finds himself facing an astonishing reversal of fortunes.
JM Synge wrote this classic piece almost one hundred years ago. He described the play as an 'extravagant comedy' with a 'great deal more behind it.' I would be inclined to agree as the themes of religion, true love, and the masks we wear in order to progress in life are all covered here.
Heroes take many different forms in literature and popular culture, but everyone likes an anti-hero- someone who goes against the grain of what is expected of them; somebody that we love to hate. Michael Colgan's Christy longs to be accepted and admired. He does not expect the sheer adulation that he receives from the village folk but his tales become more woven as time goes on to feed the frenzied gossips. This ensures that his place in society is stable and his friendship with pub landlady Pegeen Mairead McKinley blossoms as a result.
Director Greg Hersov brings pace and respect to the material and enables the audience to view the play as a timeless piece. The cast wrap their vowels round Synge's beautiful language with ease. Colgan conveys Christy's inner turmoil very well and McKinley shows real strength and emotion as the smitten landlady. Eileen Pollock is tremendous oozing wit and determination as the Widow Quin, but every performance contains real warmth and emotion.
Bruno Poet's atmospheric lighting and Conor Murphy's wonderfully realised set rounds off a perfect evening which certainly warmed the hearts and minds of the audience on the night I attended. Hersov describes this play as like 'watching your favourite Western or seeing a great band.' Playboy really is that accessible and is a superb evening out as a result.
- Glenn Meads