The Walworth Farce – Druid Theatre Company at Harbourfront’s worldstage

By Megan Mooney

Tadhg Murphy and Michael Glenn Murphy in Walworth Farce

I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten myself into when the lights came up on Druid Theatre Company’s production of The Walworth Farce that opened this year’s worldstage festival at the Harbourfront Centre.

Turns out, I’d gotten myself into a beautifully crafted gripping, funny and terrifying world.  The Walworth Farce is a skilfully played tragedy, disguised as a farce.

Walking into the theatre the audience is greeted with a very interesting set, depicting a dilapidated old apartment.  Plaster falling off the walls, great gaping holes between the three rooms (bedroom, living room and kitchen).  It’s impressive.  It sets up some pretty high expectations.  It doesn’t feel like a light-hearted farce kind of set.  Although, as I write that, I realise I don’t know what would feel like that, I just know this is not it.

Then the show starts.  Silent movement by three men on stage.  A sense of frantic energy.  Each in their own world.  I had no idea what was going on.  One man was ironing.  He was the only one I could clearly tell what he was doing, but I had no idea why.  Frantic ministrations in the kitchen culminate with what would appear to be complete terror of a huge summer sausage kind of thing.  I was really trepidations at this point.  I thought it was going to be a long night.

And suddenly…  Lights off, lights on.  The dialogue begins.

Now we’re greeted by stiff armed movement and stilted dialogue.  My trepidation grew.

Then, suddenly, an exaggerated step in unison, and I was hooked.  I couldn’t tell you what it was about that move specifically, but it reeled me in.  From that moment on I was watching each movement on stage, relishing how deliberate they all were.

It was amazing to watch the phenomenal coordination between the three men on stage (Michael Glenn Murphy, Raymond Scannell, and Tadhg Murphy).  They flip between characters, fling wigs to each other without even looking, and every once in a while do a move perfectly choreographed move.  All three are stunning performers.

Now, I don’t want to give away the show, it’s got a few surprises in it and those all contribute to the wonder of the show.  But let me at least tell you that there is more than meets the eye going on here.  If you’re feeling trepidatious, stick with it.  It starts out a bit more surreal than I usually enjoy, but like I said, it won me over very quickly.

My show partner for this one, the lovely Raffaella (who joined me by responding to a message on my Free Theatre in Toronto Mooney on Theatre facebook group), couldn’t say enough positive things about the show.  When I asked her what she thought she tried various things, including that it was filled with phenomenal acting, and finally decided on “I was blown away.”  My sentiments exactly.

She loved the committed acting from Mercy Ojelade as Hayley.  Again, without giving too much away, I’ll just say that Ojelade managed to stay completely real and fully in character, without upstaging action happening simultaneously.

When I asked Raffaella what her least favourite part of the show was she thought for a second and quickly said “I loved it.  I loved the show”  So did I.

Just a quick word of warning though.  This is not a light and simple show.  When I say it’s a tragedy, I mean it.  I left the theatre feeling a bit like I’d been kicked in the gut, and I was winded until a good half hour and some nice cool cider later.

As is the way with worldstage productions, the run on this is woefully short.  You have until Saturday to see it.  So, seriously people, don’t hesitate, go, get your tickets right now.  It’s  way more than a good way to spend an evening.  This is one of those productions that will stay will you for a long time, one that you will be very glad you had a chance to see.  I know I am.

– The Walworth Farce runs until October 10 at the Fleck Dance Theatre on the 3rd floor of the Queen’s Quay Terminal (207 Queens Quay West)
– Plays Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm, with an additional matinee at 2pm
– Tickets are $40, however, if you choose to purchase them through a worldstage subscription then they will be discounted.
– Complete information about single tickets and packages, the Flex Pass (available until Oct. 17), the Performance Card and additional information is available through the Harbourfront Centre box office by phone at 416-973-4000, or by visiting

Photo of Tadhg Murphy and Michael Glenn Murphy by Robert Day