More than six decades after it was written, Sean O'Casey's "Juno and the Paycock" still has the power to move an audience to laughter and tears.
Both are present in the extraordinary yet remarkably unsentimental revival which opened recently at Broadway's Golden Theater as part of the First New York International Festival of the Arts.This straightforward production, from the Gate Theater in Dublin, is tough and unrelenting as it tells the sad tale of the bibulous Capt. Jack Boyle and his long-suffering wife Juno, who eke out their lives in a Dublin tenement.
The Boyle home - a wonderful decrepit design by Frank Hallinan Flood - doesn't radiate warmth. It's a dismal place where shattered dreams die slowly, but the hopes don't disappear until everyone has had a drink or two and sung a good song.
Boyle, the strutting "paycock" of the title, is one of the great stage characters of all time. In this production, he's more than just a figure of comic relief or Irish eccentricity. He's a foolish Everyman, evading employment and responsibility for his wife and children. - Michael Kuchwara