CAST DIARY: Beryl Nairn talks about The Widow

By June 19, 2013 Uncategorized No Comments

Beryl Nairn is a newcomer to the Hedgepig stage but a hugely experienced performer and director, and we’re thrilled to have her join us on Playboy of the Wide World. Here she is letting us in on her character – The Widow:

I first saw Synge’s ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ in 1991 at the (new) West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. It was an Irish affair, with Niamh Cusack as Pegeen and her sister, Sorcha, as Widow Quinn. Jude Kelly’s production was fabulous, veering between outlandish comedy and downright thuggery. Kelly’s 1991 production didn’t witness the violent outbursts seen in the Dublin performances of 1907, (provoked in the main by the mention of the female undergarment ‘shift’), nevertheless, the sexual excitement and primal urges attracting all the women in the cast to pursue the ‘Playboy’ were very much in evidence.
I say it was an Irish affair in 1991 and yet, interestingly enough, Reece Dinsdale, who took the role of the ‘Playboy’ hero, was actually born in Wakefield, Yorkshire. This brings me (very neatly) to 2013 and our Hedgepig Theatre production of ‘The Playboy of the Wide World’. Director, Andy Curry, and Hedgepig Theatre, have taken the guts of J.M. Synge’s masterpiece, torn them apart, rebuilt them and relocated them to a Yorkshire-esque world.
I’m delighted to be playing the Widow Quinn. At the moment, I’m seeing her Yorkshire accent as a cross between Christa Ackroyd and John Shuttleworth. She spends a lot of time sparring with her nemesis, Peggy, over the affections of the ‘fine young lad’, and hero, Chris. The Widow also sees herself as Top Dog in the village, Earth Mother (“at one with all living things”) and thinks she has more bargaining power than Don Corleone.
I was very pleased to read in the script that The Widow is extremely ‘hands-on’ when it comes to helping our hero get dressed; I could mention ‘shift’, but wouldn’t want to provoke a riot.
PLAYBOY OF THE WIDE WORLD runs from 17th – 21st July 2013 in Leeds and York. More details and online tickets can be found at