The Night Alive*** (Donmar Warehouse, 26 July 2013)

Posted: July 26, 2013 in Theatre

Following “The Weir” at this theatre, Conor McPherson premieres his new work, which he also directs. Like its predecessor this is ostensibly a conversation piece underpinned by quirky Irish humour; however the characters are far more damaged than in “The Weir” and clinging to each other far more desperately. The setting is a grubby, cluttered Dublin bedsit, occupied by Tommy (Ciaran Hinds), a middle-aged man separated from his family, and various visitors. These characters are so impeccably written and acted that they quickly become real and, from there, the play seems almost to progress on auto-pilot. The drama is punctuated by acts of  violence which provide a stark reminder that these people are not just inventions of Irish whimsy, but inhabitants of a very cruel world. The tone is deliberately understated throughout and, when the climax arrives, it carries enormous emotional power not in spite of this understatement but because of it.

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