The Playboy of the Western World is an ambitious play for Juniors to put on, set as it is in what is by now an alien culture for teenagers of the early 21st century, who have to speak in a language that is even more alien to them. However, Mr Jameson (who has himself performed in the play) is properly ambitious, and his cut-down version of John Millington Synge’s masterpiece told this memorable tale effectively in the BSR.
The bleakness of the Mayo shebeen was echoed in a bare set as Pegeen Mike (Daniela Nolan) opened the play showing her disdain for weedy Shawn Keogh (his personality embodied physically by Alex Hinde). The great moment when stranger Christy Mahon enters, nervous and quiet, claiming to have killed his father, was effectively played by Naoise Murray, and then built on by the locals played by Florian Zitzmann (Jimmy), Susan (Kate Higgins), Aedlagh Bradley-Brady (Nelly), Zofia Cannon-Brookes (Philly), Elizabeth Hart (Sara), Shannon Walker Kinsella (Honor) and pot-bellied Michael, Pegeen’s father (properly cheerful and self-centred as portrayed by Hal Somerville). Gradually Christy realises he is actually being seen as a hero striking back against authority, and, even better, Pegeen has an exciting alternative to Shawn Keogh. Naoise Murray conveyed this dawning discovery very well, and Emily McCarthy as the Widow Quin conveyed her own scepticism confidently. The cast was completed by Elliot Warnock as the Bell Man announcing Christy’s sporting success.
An even better moment is when Christy’s supposedly-dead father Old Mahon comes in, and Cameron McKinley brought renewed energy to the stage. Later, after he is ‘killed’ again, he repeated that entry crawling onto the stage, blood-spattered, head first, to the delight of the audience. The rest of the story played out as it should, with the audience divided between delight in Christy’s triumph and sympathy for Pegeen’s abandonment. Congratulations to all involved.
Photographs, below, by Daniel Owen.
Cast and Crew
Daniela Nolan: Pegeen Flaherty
Alex Hinde : Shawn Keogh
Hal Somerville: Michael James Flaherty
Florian Zitzmann: Jimmy
Zofia Cannon-Brookes: Philly
Naoise Murray: Christy Mahon
Emily McCarthy: The Widow Quin
Kate Higgins: Susan
Elizabeth Hart: Sara
Shannon Walker Kinsella: Honor
Aeladh Bradley-Brady: Nelly
Cameron McKinley: Old Mahon
Elliot Warnock: The Bell-Man
Production / direction: Evan Jameson and Humphrey Jones
Stage management, sound and lights: Ronan Swift
Set design: Derarca Cullen, Michael Keogh, Emma Hinde, Iona Chavasse, Avi Johnston, Edna Johnston
Costumes: Karen Hennessey
Make-up effects: Arizona Forde
Thanks to Donna and Ted Sherwood.