Written by Michael Harnett and directed by Patrick Sutton, The Boys tells the story of a group of teenage boys (or perhaps more appropriately, a gang of lads) from Drumcondra and the events of their Inter-cert year, 1967. Following the ups and downs of the year for each of the four boys, this play hits the highs with an infectiously heady optimism and hilarity and the lows with an equally catching poignancy and pain.
The four actors, all recent graduates from the Gaiety School of Acting, handle their roles with skill and energy, with both Killian Coyle as Hackett and Shane O’Regan as Brennan delivering particularly impressive performances. Each actor has a primary role of one of the boys but all take on the guises of parents, girlfriends and many other supporting characters when their anecdotes demand it. With only small changes of costume, a wig here, a hat there, and simple changes of posture and voice the cast portrayed all of the characters of the boys’ Drumcondra of 1967 with clarity and vitality (with O’Regan’s caricature of the Belvedere College secretary being a comic highlight!)
The script was well composed, capturing the distinctly youthful manner of speech of the boys (I know, I’m not too far from their age myself!) as well as the phrases and nuances of the Drumcondra accent. The transitions from levity to seriousness were also very cleverly written, always flowing naturally, catching the audience in a moment between laughter and tears.
The Boys is a recognisable, sometimes all-too real, tale of growing up, with all of its antics, heartaches and changes that will have a laugh and a tear competing in your throat.