A Whistle in the Dark Everyman Theatre

This powerful Tom Murphy play, produced as part of the DruidMurphy trilogy, is a gripping, unsettling and tragic piece of drama that shines a light on the effects of emigration on a brawling criminal Irish family.

The eldest son, Michael Carney, who is respectable, lives in Coventry with his English wife, Betty. Staying with the couple are Michael’s brothers, Harry, Hugo and Iggy. On to the scene comes Michael’s father, accompanied by the youngest member of the family, Des. There’s a reference to the harsh economic climate in Ireland. However, as far as Michael is concerned, England is no place for his young brother. He tries to shatter any illusions Des harbours about it.

Niall Buggy as Dada gives a brilliant performance. This character is obnoxious and authoritarian. He is also something of a snob, proud of his tribe, and given to boasting that he was once a Garda. He is at his most pathetic when, drunk at the kitchen table, he asks Betty if she ever gets lonely.

While Dada tanks up on whiskey, his sons go out to fight another Irish family. When they return, bloodied and energised, Dada has a go at Michael who wouldn’t fight. Michael (Marty Rea) tells his father he tried to love him. But Dada, standing on a chair addressing his family, has no time for such a heartfelt admission.

Aaron Monaghan as the menacing, pugnacious Harry is utterly convincing, but is frustrated by his inarticulacy. Eileen Walsh, as Betty, is the audience’s touchstone, witnessing dysfunction and terrible violence. (Until Sept 19).

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