By Juliana Ukiomogbe, CAS 2020
Bedford Square News, Spring 2019, Issue 1
(above) Artwork by Root, for Cyprus Avenue, by David Ireland. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2016
On February 21st, I had the pleasure of seeing Cyprus Avenue at the Royal Theatre. Written by David Ireland and set in Northern Ireland, the play is about a man named Eric who believes his baby granddaughter resembles Irish politician Gerry Adams. In vain, Eric tries to convince everyone of the resemblance between the two, and his agony pushes him towards an unsettling madness. Contained in only three central locations—Eric’s home, his therapist’s office, and a park—this chaotic story unravels before us, with the unusual premise making for an incredibly interesting and peculiar story.
I really enjoyed the play for how absurd it is. It’s described as a dark comedy, and rightfully so. The very thought that Eric thinks his granddaughter favors the facial features of a much older politician provides much of the comedy. As Eric begins to go mad, the play takes a more sinister turn and this is where most of the dark humor comes into play. One character in particular, Slim, is one of the best aspects of Cyprus Avenue. He comes in around the third act when he meets Eric in a park, and his character is just brilliant. All of the actors are really great, but he just stands out the most.
Being that it’s a dark comedy, there are several offensive jokes. No one is off limits, including Catholics, Protestants, women, and people of color. Several of the jokes are hilarious, as they often dealt with the ways in which society functions as a whole. Other jokes, particularly jokes aimed at women and people of color, oftentimes don’t quite land. Certain humorous bits definitely made the audience uncomfortable, which I presume was the goal. Despite the cringe-worthy moments that made you feel like you were preparing yourself for the next offensive line, Cyprus Avenue does have a lot of charm and is quite cheeky.
I enjoyed it immensely as my first play in London, and I’m excited to see more. Cyprus Avenue is currently running at the Royal Court Theatre until Saturday, March 23 so make sure you see it if slightly offensive dark humor is up your alley.