BWW Reviews: NCTC's THE WALWORTH FARCE Manages Hilarious Mixed with Terrifying
New Century Theatre Company's track record for putting on stunning shows remains brilliantly intact as they present another absolute winner with Enda Walsh's "The Walworth Farce". It's actually getting a little scary how they keep consistently putting up the goods show after show. It's almost like they've discovered some theatrical genie or wishing stone that magically turns their shows into gold. Or it could be that they just have the cream of the crop of Seattle theatrical talent on their team who not only know how to pick the slightly obscure shows but also how to produce and perform them. And "The Walworth Farce" is no exception as this four member cast goes from the raucously funny to the sublimely terrifying at the drop of a hat and takes you on a ride you won't soon forget.
The premise is a complex one (you definitely need to pay attention but the payoff is so worth it). At the open of the show we meet three men going about their preparations for ... what? We're not sure. But as the action continues we see them begin to reenact a play of sorts. And as we go along we realize that this is a play that Sean and Blake and their Father, DInny (Darragh Kennan, Peter Dylan O'Connor and Peter Crook), have performed several times and solely for themselves. But all the hilarity is mixed with a tinge of tension and sadness which becomes more and more apparent as the play goes on. And when Sean's new friend Hayley (Allison Strickland) unexpectedly enters the scene, the laughter and humor of it all quickly turns to fear. It's almost like The Marx Brothers meets "The Silence of the Lambs".
Director John Kazanjian and his crew have done and incredible job in taking this intimate little space and turning it into a veritable playground for the show where anything can happen and does. The narrow aspect of this deep set never once obscured any of the action or flow of the piece. And Kazanjian has assembled a powerhouse of an ensemble.
Crook couldn't be better or more focused as the duplicitous and dangerous Father of these two damaged men. It's a tough thing to make the "villain" of the piece sympathetic and Crook manages it in a seemingly effortless way. Kennan is brilliant as always with his spot on intention and deeply complex performance. If you want to see a performance with layers than look no further than anything he does. O'Connor is absolutely heartbreaking as the more stuck of the two brothers. His performance shows off a deeply disturbed yet sweet man yet never gives away too much which just ups the stakes of what he might do next. And Strickland practically glows in her character within this bleak world. She manages to convey volumes, sometimes without ever uttering a word, and her fear and tension is palpable.
A tour-de-force performance from all in a killer of a play. Walking in I had no idea what to expect. I thought maybe a light little farce from a powerhouse company but I should have known this farce would have some teeth to it. I don't want to divulge too much so I'll just say, "Go!" But then considering the company presenting it, I would hope you already had your tickets.
"The Walworth Farce" performs at the New City Theater through October 27th. For tickets or information visit them online at www.wearenctc.org.
Photo credit: Chris Bennion