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Playboy Of The Western World (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Druid Theatre Company’s production of JM Synge's The Playboy of the Western World is a very slick and well rehearsed show which tells the story of Christy Mahon (Aaron Monaghan) who arrives at Flaherty’s Tavern in Co Mayo claiming to be on the run as he has murdered his father by hitting him over the head with a spade. Peegan (Clare Dunne), her father, Flaherty (John Olohan) and friends are swept along by Christy’s aptitude for recanting the story and he becomes something of a local attraction.

Peegan falls in love with Christy, much to the distress of her betrothed, Shawn Keogh (Marcus Lamb) and the playboy also attracts the attention of the local townswomen who are fascinated by him and all vie for his attention and affections.

Christy’s father, Old Mahon (Andrew Bennett) not dead only injured, finds Christy at the Tavern and sets the record straight and once this player is exposed as a liar, the local residents turn against him and look to hang him and Peegan’s heart is broken. Christy and Old Mahon leave the town and Keogh thinks he and Peegan will marry as planned prior to Christy’s arrival but she rejects him and mourns his loss.

Monaghan is utterly convincing as he portrays Christy's development from local simpleton to an eloquent, dynamic young man who has the locals hanging on his every word.

Fiery and passionate, occasionally the dialogue is a little lost in the emotion and heavy Irish accents. However Druid's authentic production is a witty, well delivered and dynamic account of one night and one day in a tiny west coast tavern in a small village which is turned upside down by the arrival of the Playboy of the Western World.

-Ruth Lovett


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