Juno And The Paycock

Written by Sean O'Casey
Liverpool Playhouse
Directed by Gemma Bodinetz
1st - 18th October 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Stephen Vaughan

Set in Dublin in 1922 during the Irish Civil War, it features Niamh Cusack as Juno and her husband Jack (Des McAleer), and evokes the hardship the Boyle family and friends endure through mass unemployment and religious bigotry and segregation.

Juno is the one who keeps the family united of sorts with no support from her wastrel spouse. She is the realist - always working away, cooking, cleaning - while he is the dreamer, generally assisted by the wet black stuff.

Jack's fortunes dramatically change when he becomes the beneficiary of an inheritance but this prospect of a major financial boost for himself and family proves agonisly illusionary.

The savagery of the conflict taking place outside steps into their tenement when two IRA "irregulars" seize Johnny, the couple's badly maimed son and shoot him. The dramatic impact of this incident was not helped by a guy sitting behind me coughing when the slaying took place!

Overall the despair, anguish, lack of joy, even of the simple things in life, of the working class/unemployed people of Dublin at this time is portrayed well.

You could set the play in 2014 and nothing much would have changed in regard to the subjugation of ordinary people by the State cum military.

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