I went to see the matinee performance of Sean O’Casey’s Cock-a-doodle-dandy today at the Baron’s Court Theater in the Curtains Up pub in West London.
The play is one of O’Casey’s lesser performed pieces, and is very different from the early ‘Dublin trilogy’ which established his fame.
It is a surreal satire on the Ireland of the 1940s and 1950s, in which the populace are held in check by the joint interests of God and Mammon, youth is suspected and gaiety is seen as the work of the devil.
The superstitious belief that the cock of the title is a demonic entity is the vehicle for a plot that has elements of farce but ultimately ends in tragedy.
In a question and answer session after the performance, a relative of the author, Siobhan O’Casey, said it was his favourite play.
It is perhaps not quite up to the standard of the Dublin plays, but it is brilliantly effective in expressing what O’Casey had to say about the Ireland of his day (where the play was banned).
At the heart of the play is a conflict between men and women, and between young and old, aspects which are portrayed perfectly by an excellent cast in this production, which runs until 17 April.