The Bonnie and Clyde of Cork

Issue 

The Bonnie and Clyde of Cork

Disco Pigs
Written by Enda Walsh
Directed by Brian Kiernan
Performed by Kevin O'Leary and Orla Fitzgerald
Touring Australia

Review by Bronwen Beechey

Described by a British critic as "like something dreamed up by Quentin Tarantino and written by James Joyce on acid", Disco Pigs tells the story of two teenagers celebrating their 17th birthdays on a cider-fuelled rampage through Cork city.

Ireland's Corcadora Theatre Company are currently touring the country with their acclaimed production of Disco Pigs. It played a limited season at Adelaide's Space Theatre.

While the play doesn't specifically deal with the social background of its protagonists, it is clear from the dialogue that they are from a working-class housing estate where poverty, unemployment and family breakdown are the norm. Although Irish in its language and setting, it is a story that could just as easily be set in Australia.

Pig (Kevin O'Leary) and Runt (Orla Fitzgerald) were born at the same time, in the same hospital ward, and have been inseparable ever since. They are totally alienated from society, sharing their own language and reacting violently against anyone who threatens their little world.

They are the self-styled Bonnie and Clyde of Cork, which they call "Pork City", swaggering through its pubs and discos, using both verbal and physical intimidation against anyone who stands in their way.

Tension creeps into their close relationship. Pig wants it to become sexual, to intensify the relationship that is his only close human interaction in a world he cannot deal with. Runt doesn't, realising that to do so would condemn her to a life of violence and poverty.

As the events of the night unfold, Runt begins to see the possibility of a different kind of existence, and the outcome is devastating.

While the peculiar vocabulary often makes the dialogue difficult to follow, the play tells its story through the intense physical acting of Fitzgerald and O'Leary, aided by the innovative soundtrack by Cormac O'Connor.

Disco Pigs on one level is a simple love story, but on another a powerful, if extreme, portrayal of the alienation experienced by many young people.

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