Juno and the Paycock – National Theatre, November

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The National Theatre has opened its new season for bookings.  So now that I’ve filled all the evenings of september and october for you with my previous posts–I will start to provide you with exciting performances to attend as the days in London rapidly get colder, shorter and darker.  Something uplifting to assuage the London Gloom? Juno and the Paycock offers a devastating portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish Civil War, 1922.

Jack Boyle is out of work and determined to stay that way. He postures and drinks with his sidekick Joxer while the long-suffering Juno balances threats with cajolement to preserve the semblance of family in a squalid tenement flat. Their son Johnny, crippled fighting for the IRA, cowers indoors, terrified of reprisal; his sister Mary has joined the labour movement and is on strike.

Sudden news of an inheritance provokes dreams of escape but, even before their rowdy celebrations are done, reality asserts itself as a neighbour’s corpse is carried down the stairs – another victim of the bitter civil war. Mary falls for an educated man as the loans stack up. Tragedy ensues.

One of the great plays of the twentieth century, Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock offers a devastating portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish Civil War, 1922.

Blessed Virgin, where were you when me darlin’ son was riddled with bullets? Sacred Heart o’ Jesus, take away our hearts o’ stone, and give us hearts o’ flesh! Take away this murdherin’ hate, an’ give us Thine own eternal love!

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