The Walworth Farce ★★ Southwark Playhouse | Feb 17 - Mar 18, 2023


The Walworth Farce isn't a farce. It is a dark story about two boys held captive by their father and forced daily to re-enact the traumatic events of their childhood. The thought of two children being abused in this manner by a parent is simply appalling, and the fact that their abuse takes the form of being forced to act out the past in a farcical manner isn't really amusing. Characteristic of a farce is the frantic pace of the action, and while here the play within a play certainly meets that standard, it ultimately fails to engage the audience. Within the story the boys are condemned to repeat, they change character so rapidly, simply by donning wigs or moustaches, that it is never quite clear who some of the characters are or what their relationship is to each other. Also, this farce/trauma narrative doesn't seem to be developed in a linear fashion so it becomes doubly difficult to understand, and ultimately to care very much, about the story being enacted. Indeed, rather than trying to piece together the events of the absurd play within a play, one is left with an overriding horror at the boys' present abuse. The Walworth Farce is well acted with Dan Skinner putting in a menacing performance as the father, Dinny, and Emmet Byrne and Killian Coyle being discomfortingly abject as the boys, Sean and Blake. Anisha Fields' set design is clever, but sight lines are probably an issue for some seats in the theatre. Ultimately, The Walworth Farce seems to be an uneasy meeting of Harold Pinter and Michael Frayn that probably won't satisfy the audiences of either writer.

Rated: ★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by David Jensen.

Want to save on tickets? See our Tips page.

When, Where, Getting there:

Most Popular

São Paulo Dance Company ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | February 9 & 10, 2024

The Hills of California ★★★★ Harold Pinter Theatre | Jan 27 - Jun 15, 2024

Naked Boys Singing, The Garden Theatre at The Eagle - ★★★★ - Until October 25, 2020

St. Martin in-the-fields: Lunchtime Concerts ★★★★ FREE

This Might Not Be It ★★★★★ Bush Theatre | Jan 30 - Mar 7, 2024

Bronco Billy – The Musical ★★★ Charing Cross Theatre | Jan 24 - Apr 7, 2024

The Handmaid’s Tale ★★★ London Coliseum | February 1 - 15, 2024

Before After ★★★ Southwark Playhouse | Feb 7 - Mar 2, 2024

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie ★★★★ Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre | Feb 8 - Mar 23, 2024

Colonel Saab ★★★★★ Trafalgar Square | 2024

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings