Theatre review: How These Desperate Men Talk

Enda Walsh

Graepel’s Factory, Kinsale


Staged mostly inside a metal perforation factory in the dark of night, Corcadorca’s Irish premiere of Enda Walsh’s absorbing play is unsettling and potentially explosive. But ironically, it is the threatening presence of a gun that keeps two desperate men alive and talking.

Even when the talking becomes too disturbing, John (David Pearse) remains stuck in his narrative, repeating his story, egged on by Dave (Tadhg Murphy).

To allow silence would be to invite pulling the trigger. Like Beckett characters, the men can’t go on — but they must go on.

John is in the torture chamber of his mind. The bleak setting of this production mirrors his interior chilling world.

Pearse portrays the seemingly psychotic John in a menacing manner with occasional moments of vulnerability. John has issues with his father but as Dave points out, it is his mother that John hates most.

Director Pat Kiernan had a blank canvas to work on at this large factory space which, after work hours, is eerie and alienating. He has broken up the space with the actors moving from one raised platform area to another, with the audience following in promenade style.

While this is a short dense play, it is stretched out over 75 minutes aided by an industrial-type soundscape by sound artists, Eat My Noise.

It’s good to see Corcadorca return to site-specific work. Getting to the factory, which isn’t well signposted, involves an uphill walk. But it’s worth the effort. This is a fine piece of writing and an imaginative production.


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