Disco Pigs, at the Trafalgar Studios (review)

Pig and Runt are like twins from different mothers, born just moments apart in the same hospital, and inseparable from the word go.  Even their speech, a Cork dialect at times indecipherable by others (and by some of us in the audience), ties them secretly to each other in their own small world.

(c) Alex Brenner

Colin Campbell and Evanna Lynch (credit: Alex Brenner)

The Pigs run around town drinking (mimed) cider and eating (mimed) scampi fries; they get into trouble together and have each other’s backs. Pig tends towards random violence, particularly when protecting his best friend Runt, and you can feel the seething frustration and anger in his senseless behaviour.  Disco Pigs centres on the day that Pig (Colin Campbell) and Runt (Evanna Lynch) turn 17 years old.  Up to this point they have been best pals. As Pig starts to feel the stirrings of more than friendship, we witness Runt’s realisation that a different existence away from him could be possible.

Enda Walsh’s play was first written twenty years ago and this revival at the Trafalgar Studios sees some good performances from its Pig and Runt.  As he declares as Pig, Colin Campbell really does have the beats of music going through him. At the very height of their birthday night out at the Palace Disco, he performs a big dance scene with great timing as well as humour. The sound (Giles Thomas) and lighting (Elliot Griggs) work brilliantly at that point, and we are transported back to the sounds – and laser shows – of the 1990s rave.  The movement in general (Naomi Said) is first class. Lynch is less successful as Runt – maybe her portrayal of Runt seems too close to the ethereal Luna Lovegood that made her famous the world over, maybe her part is not as well written. However, you do feel her sense of bliss at the idea that one day she could escape from this small town and this small life.

There are nods to A Clockwork Orange, with classical music being used alongside the pop, extreme bouts of violence and the language which is partly made-up and partly delivered in the singsong Irish accent.  You can’t help but feel empathy for a character who asks herself, ‘What colour is love?’, and going out with Pig and Runt on their big night out is enjoyable, if tense. However, in order to fully appreciate the unfurling of their story, you need to have a real understanding of the two sole characters and a proper belief in their closeness in the first place.

hattydaze rating: ***/*****

I attended Disco Pigs courtesy of a press ticket. It plays at the Trafalgar Studios until 19th August 2017.

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