Disco Pigs at Trafalgar Studios review: Evanna Lynch and Colin Campbell expertly revive a 90s classic

Melissa York
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Colin Campbell and Evanna Lynch in Disco Pigs
Disco Pigs

Plays that operate in their own register tend to be divisive. Like last year’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing at the Young Vic, or pretty much any Shakespeare play, you either buy into the world and let it hug you like a language sandwich, or feel alienated by it, disowned by your native tongue.

Tuning ears into a lingua franca is largely down to how convincing the actors are at using it; in Evanna Lynch and Colin Campbell, Disco Pigs has a pair of effervescent translators.

They play Pig and Runt, best friends born within moments of each other in Ireland. To combat boredom and indifference from other kids at school, they create their own world – one of casual violence, underage drinking and petty theft – and speak in their own language, a sort of pidgin English/Irish.

Bursting through the scenery, they describe their simultaneous births in lurid detail, before the action zips forward 17 years to the pair preparing for their anarchic upcoming birthday celebration.

In Evanna Lynch and Colin Campbell, Disco Pigs has a pair of effervescent translators.

But as puberty strikes, these twins in everything but the womb discover singular desires. In breakout monologues, childish Pig recounts his lust for Runt with a squirming, apologetic naivete. As his emotions become more uncontrollable, Runt’s sharpen and become more defined.

She looks at the glamorous girls in the Palace Disco, flirting coquettishly with respectable young men, and yearns for a less boisterious existence outside of her friendship with Pig.

This 20th anniversary production of Enda Walsh’s play is directed by John Haidar as a chaotic period piece, firmly set in the mid ‘90s rave scene. A bare set is furnished instead with neon strip-lighting, dry ice and a soundtrack of club bangers from Sash!’s Ecuador to Snap!’s Rhythm is a Dancer.

Dressed in day-glo Adidas sportswear, Pig and Runt quite literally bounce off each other, fuelled by copious amounts of cheap beer and scampi fries. But the setting is a nostalgic trap, inviting us to laugh at our younger, stupider selves. Suddenly, at the end of a prolonged rave, Pig turns on the audience, reprimanding us for laughing at his youthful exuberance.

Constantly provocative and challenging, Disco Pigs is a thrilling night on the town and a disconcerting dance through all the chaos, frustration and confusion of being a teenager in a small town.

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