19 July 2017

REVIEW: Disco Pigs starring Evanna Lynch and Colin Campbell

Title: Disco Pigs
Playwright: Enda Walsh (1997)
Directed by: John Haidar
Theatre: Trafalgar Studios - Studio 2
Running time: 75 mins, no interval
Cast: starring Colin Campbell as Pig and Evanna Lynch as Runt.

*I do not own any of these images* 

I seized the opportunity to grab tickets for this play: at only £15 how could I not?
I was really excited to see Evanna Lynch perform live. As a fan of her work as the dreamy Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and an admirer of her outspoken love for Veganism and animal welfare on her Instagram, it felt silly not to go. This review will not however be based on her performance alone but on the production and play as a whole. Enjoy!

Official plot:

"Born at the same time on the same day in the same hospital, Pig and Runt have been inseparable ever since. They speak their own language, play by their own rules, and create a world for themselves in which boundaries blur between truth and illusion. Until, on their seventeenth birthday, they discover something more. As night falls, and the disco and drink takes hold, they spiral violently out of control." 

Disco Pigs is dynamic with moments of unease, and of course, a little mad.


We stepped into the Studio 2 and I genuinely stopped and looked around for the rest of the seats. I didn't expect the stage to be so close. It's a very small layout: basically a tiny room aligned by 4 rows of seats on 3 sides, enough to seat about 50 people. The main stage was big enough for the 2 actors only, any more would be a bit of a squeeze. My initial thought was this feels like real theatre, not a show but proper old-fashioned theatre. That's definitely how I'd describe the play.

Everything was stripped back to basics: 2 actors, 1 prop (an old-fashioned television), simple but effective light and sound effects. You know a play is successful when you can envision all the invisible props on such a small stage. The director made very good use of the tiny space with perfectly choreographed movements which placed the audience in the characters' shoes, taking us to different locations through-out the play. Disco Pigs is very energetic & physical with the actors constantly moving around the stage.

Theme & Story

Disco Pigs follows Pig and Runt's journey together through life up until their 17th birthday and the changes that happen between them following their coming-of-age. Best friends since birth, they face new obstacles as they grow older and as they begin to question love and sexuality. Foul-mouthed and not exactly the nicest people in the world, Pig & Runt spend their days in bars & discos, occasionally ending up in fist-fights.

It took me a little while to figure out what was going on, though this was probably down to me struggling a bit with the Irish accents. I had to concentrate to fully understand every word but I got used to it pretty quickly. I also never read the details of a play before I see it, I like to walk into the Theatre with no idea of what to expect!

The opening scene established the play brilliantly. We instantly got an idea of the tone of the play (a little bit weird in the most wonderful way), the theme, and the characters' relationship. We were literally thrown into something pretty wild and out-of-the-ordinary in terms of dialogue and set design: the two actors' heads emerged out of the rough back curtain to re-enact the act of childbirth, fully grown and shouting colourful dialogue with a variety of swear words. I remember thinking at this point that the play would be quite interesting if nothing else!
The play is completely character driven rather than action driven (which means a lot of in-depth dialogue). The 1st act is pure character discovery. The 2nd presents the moment that shifts the characters' relationship which is the main plot of the play, the consequences of which are explored in the 3rd. What heavy consequences they are!

To sum it up, Disco Pigs is a heart-warming story about two characters who live in their own unique world together and how their feelings towards each-other change as they grow older. It explores the complexity and messy-ness of adolescence, a time of self-discovery and change.

Character Study

The focus is placed first and foremost on the characters, Pig and Runt. The lively dialogue mixed with wild dancing scenes allows us to immerse ourselves in this small world Pig & Runt have created for themselves, all the while providing a good moment of entertaining escapism.

The actors don't leave the stage once. The fast-paced exchanges between the two friends are both lovely and intriguing: they have a specific way of communicating with each-other, a trait that emphasizes their close-friendship/connection, a bond where words aren't always needed, where there is no room for awkwardness.

As-well as the everyday kind of conversation we also have several monologues in the play, moments in which the characters share memories of their past and their feelings, moments which draw the audience even deeper into this compelling relationship. These speeches also provided a bit of 'stability' in the play, after moments of near craziness where the characters let loose and danced their way over the stage the monologues acted as a rope with which to tie the audience back down and lead the story forward, without which we would be lost in Pig & Runt's crazy world. I'd definitely feel lost if it wasn't for those 'calm' intervals.

The closeness between both characters was truly well conveyed on stage, a testament to the writing of the play and how well the actors played their parts. I imagine it's hard to make something so intimate look so believable - you can tell when the Actor-Actor chemistry isn't there, this definitely isn't the case for Disco Pigs. The duo worked very well together (dancing moves and all).

Final thoughts

Both Colin Campbell & Evanna Lynch delivered strong, energetic performances which showcased the character's cockiness but also their vulnerability, sadness & uncertainty. Despite being so familiar with Evanna Lynch's work & projects she didn't overshadow Colin Campbell (or the other way around). Both were equally talented & impressive, gripping my attention throughout. The very fact that they didn't leave the stage once and were in such close proximity to the audience was a feat in itself - it's so rare that we can see actors up so close (literally a meter away). To follow their 75-minute journey without an interval or exeunt was such a gratifying experience.
As a result of these factors (close proximity, minimal decor) Disco Pigs is fully immersive.

The play is well paced. We had a good balance of super dynamic scenes and slower paced scenes, with the occasional gasp-generating twist. As the play advances we alternate between moments of 'normality' between the characters and moments in which they're trying to figure out how they feel about each-other - mostly through Pig's point of view, as it's his actions that bring on the problematic situation. That life-changing moment slowly transforms the play from Fun and Energetic towards Dark and Sad.

I really enjoyed it, I would go see it again. It made me laugh, made me feel uncomfortable at times, and had me feeling pretty emotional towards the end. I feel like it's one of those plays where you walk out and you begin to appreciate it the more you think back on it. (I keep laughing to myself when I think back to the karaoke scene).

It's worth seeing just for the pure experience of it in my opinion. The tickets are super cheap and it's such a stripped back play you can't help but get lost in the essential part - the characters. It's refreshing to attend a play which only has the basics of the mise-en-scene. I usually base the success of a play or a film on whether or not I forget I'm physically sitting down and watching it, and that's what happened during Disco Pigs. Hands down to the actors who did a great job!

The play is on until the 19th of August at Trafalgar Studios - would definitely recommend. Just don't expect a huge production - that is not the focus of the play - expect to get lost in unique characters.
You can buy the tickets here if you're interested!

Huge thankyou to the lovely Evanna Lynch for talking with us afterwards. We really appreciate it!

Holly x


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