A Little Less Respect for the Dead, an’ a Little More Regard for the Livin’

The Irish Repertory Theatre continues its Seán O’Casey season with Juno and the Paycock, the second in his Dublin Trilogy.  The eponymous peacock is “Captain” Jack Boyle (Irish Rep co-founder Ciarán O’Reilly), a lazy drunk who spends his days in and out of “snugs” with his buddy Joxer (John Keating) and dodging the admonitions of his long-suffering wife, Juno (Maryann Plunkett).  His son, Johnny (Ed Malone), has lost an arm, “his bit for Irelan’,” and his daughter, Mary (Sarah Street), has ditched her beau (Harry Smith) for the well-dressed estate lawyer (James Russell) bearing good news from a deceased first cousin.

Like The Shadow of a Gunman before it, this Juno is profoundly safe.  Despite being set immediately after the outbreak of the Irish Civil War, the stakes never feel particularly high, and director Neil Pepe has made few discernable choices beyond those relating to blocking.  Keating, with a tall, thin frame and hair that defies gravity, offers some welcome comic liveiness with Joxer, but for the most part, the revival is dry, dusty.  Jack keeps insisting that this world is in “a state o’ chasiss,” but the stage he says it on is utterly static.

Juno and the Paycock runs through June 22nd at the Irish Repertory Theatre.  132 West 22nd Street  New York, NY.  2 hours 15 minutes.  One intermission.

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Aaron Botwick

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