by Enda Walsh.
4 Stars ****
Trafalgar Studio 2, Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY to 19 August 2017.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm. Mat Thu & Sat 3pm.
Runs 75 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 871 7632
Review: William Russell 18 July.
Twin souls and double trouble
This 20th anniversary revival of Enda Walsh’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe hit is splendidly performed and the language and images dazzle. The play has lost none of its power to shock and amuse since it erupted on the world in 1997. It is not, however, always quite clear just what is going on in this latest staging – Irish accents can prove difficult to penetrate at times as the language spills extravagantly all over the place.
Runt and Pig are two Cork teenagers born at the same time who have grown up together and are entangled in a strange bond of friendship with a secret language and secret rituals the grownups know nothing about. The trouble is children grow up, they are now seventeen and Pig is beginning to have sexual longings for Runt, who is not at all sure that this is what she wants. They embark on a round of drinking and partying and dreaming of escape from the world in which their families live, jealousy consumes Pig, there is violence when they end up in a disco, after which their world and their relationship can never be the same.
Walsh’s language is rich and fruity – lots of four letter words – and the performances by Evanna Lynch as the beady eyed, scrawny Runt and Colin Campbell as the more assured of his charms Pig hold the attention throughout. The play calls for immense energy from the two actors and they provide it in abundance. Runt is the more vulnerable of the two in some respects, but Pig is ultimately the loser disappearing into the womb from which he emerges at the start.
The play is frequently revived – it is a two hander – and needs players exist who can master the stream of consciousness dialogue which leaps from one thing to another in the same sentence. Lynch and Campbell are well up to the challenge, John Haidar has directed with a firm hand and there is some stylish lighting by Elliot Griggs. The result is a funny, moving, disturbing and exciting evening which would be even better if only one could make out all the words.
Runt: Evanna Lynch.
Pig: Colin Campbell.
Director: John Haidar.
Designer: Richard Kent.
Lighting Designer: Eliot Griggs.
Sound Designer: Giles Thomas.
Movement Director: Naomi Said.
Dialect Coach: Helen Ashton/