Danger at the disco: ‘Pigs’ has much to feast On

Colin Campbell and Evanna Lynch are the “Disco Pigs” who drink, dance, bond and brawl their way through the night. | Photo by Jeremy Daniel

BY SCOTT STIFFLER | Bouncing off the walls of Chelsea’s Irish Repertory Theatre with the pent-up energy and destructive potential of a storm wave that’s finally made its way to shore, “Disco Pigs” gleefully wallows in the twin-like bond between a boy (Colin Campbell as Pig) and a girl (Evanna Lynch as Runt) born on the same day, in the same hospital (or, as Runt puts it, “Da two mams squealin on da trollies down da ward. Oud da fookin way!”).

Upon turning 17, quick-tempered and adrenaline-addicted Pig begins to angle for a physical intimacy beyond the dangerously co-dependent dynamic of their intense friendship. Witnessing Pig give an alpha male, felony-level beating to their bus driver, Runt seems happy to play Bonnie to his Clyde — but no amount of binge drinking, bar fights, Scampi Fries, or dance floor head games can keep her from the melancholy pull of imagining what life might be like with other suitors, and in other places beyond County Cork, Ireland.

This 20th anniversary production of Edna Walsh’s 1997 Edinburgh Fringe hit unspools at a breakneck pace that captures the urgency of one’s teen years, with a physical and emotional intensity that’s both exhausting and exhilarating to watch. Kudus to the athletic, kinetic, two-person cast, brimming with sexy/dangerous chemistry and equally compelling in the vulnerability they display during telling soliloquies that are as memorable as they are pivotal to the changing relationship.

Deciphering the verbal shorthand Pig and Runt use to keep themselves enmeshed and the world at bay requires persistence — but like the struggle to get past those velvet ropes and into the Palace Disco where the play’s pivotal event takes place, your determination will be rewarded.

“Disco Pigs” is directed by John Haidar. Runtime: 75 min., no intermission. Through March 4 at the Irish Repertory Theatre (132 W. 22nd St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). Wed., 3pm & 8pm; Thurs., 7pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 3pm & 8pm; Sun., 3pm. For tickets ($24-70), visit irishrep.org.

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