Enda Walsh’s breakthrough play gets a 20th-anniversary reboot
Set in the dark, sparse environs of Trafalgar Studios’ diminutive Studio 2, we’re introduced to tonight’s protagonists as they re-enact their births, crying and crawling head-first through a pair of gaps in stage backdrop. Runt (Evanna Lynch, best-known as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films) and Pig (Colin Campbell) have been life-long friends since being born in the same Cork hospital, moments apart. Tonight it’s 1996 and they’re plotting their joint 17th birthday celebration.
As the preparations take place, we witness their intense co-dependency. The impending night out has no other invitees, they’re both clad in Adidas-emblazoned sportswear and the pair speak in an invented language and Cork vernacular. A cult of two, their private language frequently renders them deliberately impenetrable. But their hardened exteriors mask the teenage insecurities beneath. As their night out progresses, we’re taken on a 90s nostalgia trip, where the rave scene rules supreme. But even the strobe lighting and euphoric soundtrack can’t distract from the violence that unfolds.
The theatre’s close environment means that we’re face-to-face with the action: you can see the sweat pouring off Pig’s face as he dances and witness flying flecks of spit as he screams. This, alongside the lack of set (the only prop is a flickering TV) and interval, makes for a blisteringly fervent performance. As the play draws to a close, a rejected Pig retreats into the backdrop in which he entered, leaving Runt alone with her thoughts. As the lights come down, we too are left to wonder whether this extreme friendship will survive.
Until 19 August
Hospitality VIP packages start at £45pp and include access to the Ambassador Lounge 90 minutes before the performance and during the interval, half a bottle of champagne, savoury snacks, chocolates and a programme.