Juno and the Paycock
Directed by Charlotte Moore
The Irish Repertory Theatre 132 W. 22nd St., NYC
October 20-December 29, 2013
Watching “Captain” Jack Boyle’s pronouncement regarding Ireland’s civil strife -- “We’ve got nothin’ to do with these things, one way or t’other. That’s the Government’s business, an’ let them do what we’re payin’ them for doin’” -- about 24 hours after a more than two-week government shutdown lent a little extra resonance to the Irish Repertory Theatre's production of Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock. The personal is always the political in O’Casey’s work, and Juno, part of his acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, skillfully interweaves the two as it follows the Boyle family’s fortunes’ (imagined) rise and fall in a 1922 Dublin tenement.
Shades of brown dominate the peeling walls of James Noone’s set, which the cast fills admirably. The titular characters, the goddess of the homefront (J. Smith-Cameron) and her strutting husband (Ciarán O’Reilly), turn in strong, nuanced performances, as does John Keating, coming off a similar and similarly well-executed role in the Irish Rep’s staging of The Weir, as the “daarlin’” Joxer Daly.