The Weir at the Wyndham’s Theatre
With all the charm and comfort of good craic at your favourite local pub, Josie Rourke’s rendition of The Weir by Conor McPherson provocatively brings to light our deepest fears in an unexpectedly profound yet light-hearted and humorous evening of ghost stories over drinks.
With a star-studded cast including the likes of Brian Cox, Peter McDonald and Ardal O’Hanlon, the minimalist storyline of three Irish lads reminiscing, suddenly disturbed by the arrival of a newcomer to town, is strikingly overshadowed by charismatic and strong individual performances.
Cox is effervescent and engaging, winning over the audience with his subtle quirks and mannerisms before he even speaks his first line. His comfortable repertoire with McDonald is effortless, but the loneliness beneath the surface is continuously brimming. There is no question that this is his craft.
O’Hanlon is endearing and bashful, providing the perfect comedic timing for over-the-top laughs at the most inappropriate moments. His exuberance is catching and this supporting performance is simply delightful.
But it is Dervla Kirwan’s overwhelmingly sincere performance, that steals the show and will bring you to tears. The emotion she exudes and her conviction as she describes the impossible is profound and deeply saddening. The tragedy and heartache she encompasses is a sobering moment in an otherwise positive, playful production.
While widely entertaining, some of the cultural slang and jargon can be difficult to follow given the fast pace of the dialogue. Furthermore, unlike traditional story arches, there isn’t a suspenseful build to a climax and as the narrative is driven by monologues that can be tiresome to hear at times. However, each inebriated rant only further contributes to the overall authenticity of the piece.
With intricately detailed sets and dynamic staging, the atmosphere and tone of The Weir is inviting and effectively conveyed. Even the way in which the actors position themselves with their back to the audience is calculated to incorporate the viewer into the set, as if you too are also a patron, simply listening in on the moments that pass us by.
The Weir is at Wyndham’s Theatre until 19th April 2014. For further information or to book visit the show’s website here.