Review: Cillian Murphy goes surreal in existential comedy Ballyturk, National Theatre
There is a moment in Ballyturk when Cillian Murphy leaps like a gawky ballerina through a cloud of talcum powder created by Mikel Murphi and it kind of sums up the play for me.
A moment of silly, joyful abandonment in the pursuit of ridiculous purpose.
It makes sense for that moment. And that is Enda Walsh's existential dromedy currently previewing at the National Theatre.
It is a series of deliciously silly and deep moments. Watching is like grasping at a ribbon tail on a kite: you think you've got it but then it slips silkily away.
There is no context, no setting and the characters are numbered 1 and 2 and are in a room with no doors.
They choose characters and re-enact stories about the people of 'Ballyturk'.
They recall absurd dreams they've had involving a rabbit. Occasionally they eavesdrop on voices beyond the walls and a cuckoo clock measures the time but slowly their routine and their lives unravel and then 3 (Stephen Rea) appears for a spot of tea and biscuit Jenga.
You have to abandon yourself to it, let it wash over you and try not to grasp too much. In return it will make you laugh, it will treat you tenderly and gently let you glimpse into the chasm of despair.
Imagine if Dali, with a little help from Camus, had produced an episode of Father Ted.
The cast is pretty mesmerising, skillfully and beautifully comic.
The writing epic, silly and poetic. It is a play from which you can take whatever you are willing.
Ballyturk is on at the Lyttleton Theatre until Oct 11 and has a running time of 90 minutes straight through
Cillian Murphy is in The Heart of the Sea with Mr W which is due to be released next year.