Review: Disco Pigs @ Trafalgar Studios

Pig and Runt have been inseparable since birth. Born to different mothers as Darren and Sinead, they came into the world in hospital beds next to each other and were raised in houses that stand side by side. The two are each other’s whole worlds. When their seventeenth birthday arrives, they decide to make a wild night of it. Disco Pigs grabs the audience and pulls them along on a journey of excitement, discovery and looming violence.

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In this one-act play by by Dublin playwright Enda Walsh, two teenagers stuck on an estate in dismal Cork City create their own world in which they are ‘king and queen’. Written in a thick Cork dialect, with almost poetic, whimsically grammarless language, the play requires strong performances to bring it to life and make it understandable to an audience. Evanna Lynch (Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood) as Runt and Colin Campbell as Pig do this brilliantly. They are full of relentless energy – beware, you may end up being sprayed with bodily fluids. Pig burns with desperation for sexual contact with Runt, which he details in an explicit monologue, and is ever on the cusp of violence, whilst Runt’s sparkiness contains a wistful dawning realisation of a world beyond Cork City. Part coming-of-age story, part love story, part working class drama, this play defies stereotypes through its eclectic structure and skilled, lyrical use of language. At times, it’s almost like watching spoken word.

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The staging serves the play very well. In the small dark space of Trafalgar Studios 2, the intricate lighting design, the many sound effects and an old TV create the whole set. Lynch and Campbell run, hop and dance along with the lights, the whole 75 minutes expertly and intensely choreographed. Alleys, taxis, clubs, the seaside – all are created in the audience’s imagination. While Lynch retains some of the dreamy quality she brought to the role of Luna Lovegood, Campbell gives his role brute force mixed with a gangly quirkiness, the sweat running of him.

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One could criticise that a strong emotional bond cannot really be formed between the duo and the audience. Perhaps it is because we are too close in the small studio space, perhaps it is due to their heavy accents or ever-escalating violence depicted. Nevertheless, Disco Pigs makes for a fast-paced, captivating evening, prompting us to consider our own dreams and fantasies as well as the consequences of loving.

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Disco Pigs is playing the Trafalgar Studios until 19 August 2017. For more information and tickets, click here.

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