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Disco Pigs review at Trafalgar Studios, London – ‘energetic performances’

Colin Campbell and Evanna Lynch in Disco Pigs at Trafalgar Studios, London. Photo: Alex Brenner Colin Campbell and Evanna Lynch in Disco Pigs at Trafalgar Studios, London. Photo: Alex Brenner

Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs, his 1997 portrait of co-dependent teenagers Runt and Pig, is a tricky machine-gun mix of dialect and secret friend language. It requires two killer performances to make it work.

Evanna Lynch and Colin Campbell don’t quite manage it – the production takes a good 15 minutes to find its feet but they make an endearing and energetic pair: he’s enjoyably elastic, she conveys graceful saucer-eyed moments of stillness. They demonstrate good comic precision, too, in their portrayal of the array of characters they meet on their shared birthday night out in Cork.

The actors are slightly hampered by John Haidar’s production which is both over-literal, opting for a style of storytelling in which almost everything is broadly mimed, and too genteel to capture the euphoric surge of such a heady relationship – and the encroaching rush of hormones that threatens to bring it to an end.

There’s little sense of building violence in the chaste piggy-back rides, the dorky dancing; with a pounding soundtrack of recognisable tunes and Elliot Griggs’ dry ice and laser heavy lighting, there’s a danger of slipping into nostalgia for the late 1990s rather than recognising the present urgency of the story being told.

Richard Kent’s grimy bare-bones set gives nowhere to hide. For the most part, Campbell and Lynch hold their own; only occasionally does it feel like they’ve been left to dangle without a safety net.

 

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Verdict
Well-acted 20th anniversary Enda Walsh revival that could do with a little more sizzle
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