Martin Jady's Pure Theatre production of Disco Pigs is gripping and stimulating.
Enda Walsh's play was first produced in 1996. It shot the 29 year old playwright to fame. Together with subsequent play Bedbound, it helped Walsh to establish himself as one of the most important new voices in contemporary Irish theatre.
The play won numerous awards including the George Devine in 1997, (an honour previously bestowed upon Mike Leigh and Hanif Kureshi). In 1998 it was filmed by Kirsten Sheridan from a script written by Walsh himself and starred the original stage pair of Cillian Murphy and Elaine Cassidy launching glittering careers for each.
It is about two teenagers' tender love, marred by violent and vicious anti-social reactions.
Pig (Jay Bullock Jnr) and Runt (Juliet Crawford) are two youngsters from ' a bum hole a Pork Sity', that is Cork, Ireland. They were born within seconds of each other though to different mothers. They were inseparable like Siamese twins with an emotional umbilical cord tying them to each other from early childhood.
Their love for each other is as tender and touching as that of Romeo and Juliet. This is clear as Bullock and Crawford brilliantly conveyed the ardent aspects of their relationship.
Beyond their love for each other and mutual adoration there is a vast emotional desert filled with youthful arrogance, brutality and violence 'An liddle tings we do like robbin an stealin,' Runt informs with boyish enthusiasm.
Runt admires Pig's brutality and the fear he inflicts on others. She affectionately joins in with him as they relive acts of 'heroism' where smashing and smacking faces of those who do not give in to his demands/requests is the norm.
He proudly augments her account of his heroic acts by emphasising with glee in his voice the important acts of 'Schmack Schmack Schmack' or 'Beat beat beat beat beat thru da veins full a drink' and more.
They communicate with each other in a made-up language, which is consistent with their own childhood nicknames 'Pig' (Darren) and 'Runt' (Sinead) for each other.
The audience may not understand every word uttered, but Bullock and Crawford in their superb performances, ensure that viewers grasp the raw core of these two teenage protagonists' world. This is a place where real and surreal combine.
The two journey to the seaside outside 'da scummy wet grey a Pork Sity' to the 'big open space' where Runt wants to walk into the sea and never come back. There the smell and sound of the sea provide a glimpse into Runt's potential, restricted by an oppressed world.
Days before their 17th birthday, the perfect balance of their world begins to shift. Pig's sexual awakening and increasing jealousy eventually clashes with Runt's socially depraved world. Unable to contemplate the loss of Runt, Pig's unpredictable nature ascends out of control in a trail of brutal violence.
Reviewer: Rivka Jacobson