THEATRE / Three Shouts from a Hill - Lilian Baylis, London EC1

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The Independent Culture
This trio of comic playlets from the 1930s makes an odd choice for the O'Casey Theater Company's second production - it can't do much for Sean O'Casey's reputation. The End of the Beginning is a painfully extended piece of slapstick in which two weak-minded Irish bumpkins (Gerard McSorley and Risteard Cooper, mugging fit to burst) wreck a house. Direction and acting are atrocious: both are partly redeemed by the following sketch, about two drunken Irishmen outraging gentility in a Pimlico post office.

The Schnitzlerian Bedtime Story is the most substantial piece, though, held together by Cooper's pious clerk, frothing with desperation and shame after being seduced by a 'gay lass' (Madeleine Potter). But it hardly makes up for what's gone before.

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