Review: CYPRUS AVENUE, Pavilion Theatre Glasgow

David Ireland parallels humour with horror in a piece equally amusing as it is terrifying. Be prepared to be disturbed.

By: Feb. 29, 2024
Review: CYPRUS AVENUE, Pavilion Theatre Glasgow
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Review: CYPRUS AVENUE, Pavilion Theatre Glasgow Labelled as "the most shocking, subversive and violent play on the London stage", David Ireland's Cyprus Avenue is a darkly comic exploration of sectarian hatred. This one isn't for the faint-hearted.

Stuck in the trauma of the Troubles, Belfast Unionist Eric Miller (David Hayman) is racist, homophobic, misogynistic and very, very anti-Catholic. He convinces himself his newborn grand-daughter is Irish Republican leader Gerry Adams in disguise, sneakily preparing to destroy his family home. Despite his family's protests, he becomes increasingly obsessed with this theory spiralling into atrocious, violent lunacy. We discover the extent of his psychosis through conversations with his psychologist and "UVF angel" Slim. He is terrified of his own identity, consistently worrying that he might actually be Irish.

Performers are phenomenal. Despite Eric's abhorrent paranoia, David Hayman craftily evokes moments of sympathy, sparking important questions. How can trauma and war shape our hatred of other people? How does one become motivated to confirm their prejudices through horrible acts? 

Derogatory slurs are used nonchalantly and are accompanied by scenes of extreme violence that I found very difficult to watch, echoing remnants of Edward Bond's 'Saved'. Nevertheless David Ireland's witty writing (although a little long at times) parallels humour with horror in a piece as amusing as it is terrifying. Be prepared to be disturbed.

Cyprus Avenue is at the Pavilion Theatre Glasgow until 2 March

Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic




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