Monday, 10 October 2016

"Playboy Of The Western World" by J M Synge
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre.
First staged in 1907 as a three act play,set in County Mayo, Ireland. It's the story of Christy Mahon, a young man running away from his farm, claiming he killed his father.He finds himself in Michael James Flaherty's public house where he meets Flaherty's daughter, Margaret, known as Pegeen Mike (daughter of Mike).
He tells his story of how he killed his wicked father and gets the sympathy of all the girls and the admiration of the male punters, all bar one, Margaret's fiance Shawn Keogh, who is of low intelligence, the opposite of Pegeen Mike. Pegeen falls for the good looking Christy and calls of the engagement to Shawn announcing she wants to marry Christy.
Christy becomes the town's sporting hero, but then an unexpected visitor turns up to show their hero in a different light.
Adam Goodchild (Christy) is well cast as the handsome young Irishman with the blarney charm and is convincing in the role. His accent is one of the few constantly accurate ones in the cast.
Ali Patrick-Smith (Pegeen Mike) is the first one you see in the play and is also the last and from start to finish her accent is spot on. There's that lovely sing song rise and fall in her voice, even when she plays angry, and more so when she is flirty. It sounds natural. She is fiesty and flirty and knows how to show people the door when she feels like it. Consistent is the word with Ali.
Richard Fife plays Old Mahon who apparently returns to life after the spade blow to his head, and again another convincing accent, as well as a pretty convincing head wound. Full marks for the make up in this production.
David Hope (Michael Faherty) plays quite a convincing "tipsy" person. i wonder how much method acting went into this performance! This is David's play for the Lace Market Theatre, so I look forward to what he does next.
Anna McCarroll (Widow Quinn) looked like she enjoyed playing the cradle snatching widow, trying to lure Christy back to hers. A very relaxed and fun performance.
James Whitby makes his Lace Market debut as the slightly dim fiance Shawn Keogh and completing the cast list are Roger Watson (Yorkie Cullen),Glenn Murphy (Jimmy Farrell), Rosina Reading (Sara Tansley),Jemma-Dawn Froggitt (Susan Brady) - two more Christy fans, and Malcolm Edwards (Bell Man).
Loved the set, designed by David Hope and some nice lighting work byAllan Green and Rose Dudley. plenty of appropriate props for an Irish pub and the sound design by Jack Harris created another world outside the pub front door.
There's plenty of laughs, well maybe chuckles, to be had once you tune into the language and the play rattles along at a nice pace, something I know that director Bex Mason is so good at maintaining.
It's not a long play and you won't find yourself, or shouldn't find yourself glancing at your watch. This is partly due to the storyline and partly due to Bex keeping the story tight and the action and script unlaboured.
"The Playboy Of The Western World" is at the Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 15 October 2016.

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