Independent Theatre to Present THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, 11/8-16

As its final production for 2013, Independent Theatre is staging that most famous of all Irish comedies - John Millington Synge's 1907 masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World.

So irreverent and subversive did the opening night audience consider the play, that there were riots in Dublin's Abbey Theatre.

"A hundred years later, its wildly anarchic black humour still makes you gasp", says Rob Croser, director of Independent Theatre's production.

Independent Theatre has established something of a tradition with its staging of comedies by Irishmen, with several productions of Bernard Shaw plays, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as SA premieres of two of Martin McDonagh's plays - The Cripple of Inishmaan and A Skull in Connemara. All of them, in their various ways, are wildly irreverent. Indeed, McDonagh himself freely admits that his plays owe a considerable debt to Synge's masterpiece.

"There's something unique about the Irish authors," says Croser, "and the way - with their love of anarchy and subversion - they take a sideways look at everything."

"I first saw the play in 1972, when the State Theatre Company performed it in Union Hall. I fell in love with it instantly. It has such a brilliant blend of quirkiness, poetry, romanticism, and dark, dark humour."

A weedy young man, Christy Mahon, crawls into an Irish wayside pub, and confesses to having killed his drunken old man with a shovel. Instead of turning him over to the law, the locals turn him into an instant hero. Propelled into rock-star status, he finds himself besieged and fought over by all the girls in the district.

Still strikingly modern, Synge's play is a timeless parable on the way societies love to create instant celebrities, and then - just as quickly - love to tear them down.

"After all these years of loving the play, I'm delighted to finally have a chance to bring it back to the audiences of Adelaide, and with such a brilliant cast", says Croser.

The play stars Will Cox, Catherine Hancock and Tracey Walker, with Jared Gerschwitz, Michael Pole, David Roach, Angus Henderson, Alex Daly, Anna Bampton, Georgia Penglis, Grace Berwald, Emma Bleby and Mark Mulders.

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