‘It’s all grand’. There’s something truly stoic about the Irish approach to whatever personal mischances or missteps may occur. As if whatever happens can be seen in a positive light if you only look hard enough.
In Thomas Magill (Thomas Campbell), the central character of ‘Misterman’, Enda Walsh has created an Irish Justified Sinner, driven to increasing extremes by the constraints of the life he lives and his reactions to it.
We are in small town Ireland, or perhaps more truthfully a tragi-comic doppelganger. This ‘Inishfree’ is a much darker and far less welcoming place than that of Yeats’ imagination. It certainly offers little to Thomas Magill, a loner still living with his mother in his middle thirties, whose obsessive religiosity isolates him even further from those around him, with ultimately tragic consequences.
Thomas Campbell gives a never less than thoughtful and powerful performance as Thomas, in which a canny combination of timing and physical theatre technique contribute greatly to consistent watchability. His performance is ably supported by the ‘voices’ in Thomas’ head, including those of his ‘Mammy’ (Deborah Gallanos) and Edel (Briallen Clark) among others.
As with some of Walsh’s other work, there’s precious little comfort to be had in the tale of this particular Thomas, but much to be impressed by in Campbell’s interpretation of a deeply troubled individual, thirled to a belief system and way of life both of which clearly damage his mental health. Despite its darker moments, flashes of humour lighten this and Campbell’s performance alone makes the production a near-unmissable one.
4th-28th August at 15.45 p.m.