The Source Arts Centre in Thurles hosted the premier of Michael Langton’s Cockroach, a ninety minute, one-man show that explored in a very earthy but often humorous way the struggles of an illegitimate boy to make his way in the playground, then in the world of sex, work and disappointment with dollops of hurling thrown in to anchor the work in a setting familiar to the audience it served.

Michael Langton is a founder of the mostly theatre-in-education company, Clan Cluana Theatre Company, Tipperary with eighteen productions behind them.

I found the play exciting and it held me for the ninety minutes without an interval witty just a very energetic Langton on stage, with only a chair and table as props. An off-stage bodhran player punctuated the action and scene changes and Michael Heffernan is also a member of the band Shindig.

An excellent lighting plot by Nic Anton gave the work a fine dynamic.

The always interesting narrative follows the un-named character from birth to death by hanging as he struggles to come to terms with his mother’s excessive mollycoddling and his playground discovery of his illegitimate status. He grew to blame his mother for his plight and his life and his early attempts at sex and hurling were humorous at first then took on a harsher feral quality.

It was strange that his rod or wiggly did not evoke any response but the audience laughed at penis. His battles with pigs and pig shit were great physical fun as was his point of view that if there was a god that god would have made pigs holes a lot smaller.

The sex sessions, job interviews, hurling matches, drug episodes and drunken bouts were evocative and powerful and up to the end you had sympathy for this almost likeable person.

Langton wrote, directed and performed the work with drive, passion and a high energy that was impressive and absorbing.

At the venue, there was an arty farty installation/exhibition Surface Tension.

Ceramics by Jane Jermyn were nothing fantastic, Gerda Teljeur had repetitive squiggles and lines on paper like a Pollack out-take and Juliana Walters had a tricky video of a girl in a hood pulling an elastic rope. Couldn’t see the point myself.