THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS: Sean O’Casey.
Touring till 03 11 12
Runs 3hr 5min One interval.
Review: Alexander Ray, 09 10 12
Seize the opportunity
ReviewsGate Eire reviewer, Michael Paye, covered this production in full when it opening at . . Theatre on 5 August. Here it is, now, playing to a broadly English audience and well into its tour.
As Paye said at the time, this is a strong production. It’s not easy-going on us, in the audience, we must make an effort to stay with it, but the effort brings rich rewards. Nobody ever said great art should be easy.
And THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS is great art, brought vigorously alive in this production.
The level of detailed realism in both O’Casey’s writing and the production is immediately striking. Watching young Nora Clitheroe with her young husband, endeavouring to make something of their lives and environment, is like watching the realism of, say, DH Lawrence. But such realism comes at a price; O’Casey presents many of the characters (especially the men) as feckless, argumentative and sometimes even stupid. With a political theme of Irish independence, the play’s message is disorientating.
But O’Casey is cleverer than that. As the plot develops so the feckless become noble, we sense that these are ordinary flawed people fighting against the cruel and inhuman face of political power – or worse, political expediency.
Much to be admired in this transition is Joe Hanlan’s portrayal of Fluther Good. A moving performance from Kelly Campbell as Nora, and the long duologue between her and her young husband Jack (Barry Ward) in the first half, is to die for.
This may be the Abbey’s 56th production, but it’s a rare chance to see this play in England – seize the chance while you can.
Kelly Campbell: Nora Clitheroe.
Barry Ward: Jack Clitheroe.
Joe Hanley: Fluther Good.
Gabrielle Reidy: Bessie Burgess.
Deirdre Molloy: Mrs. Gogan.
Kate Brennan: Rosie Redmond.
Roxanna Nic Liam: Mollser.
Frankie McCafferty: Peter Flynn.
Laurence Kinlan: The Young Covey.
Mark Fitzgerald: Lieutenant Langon.
Dara Devaney: Captain Brennan.
Gavin Fullam: Corporal Stoddart.
Keith Hanna: Sergeant Tinley.
Tony Flynn: A Bartender.
Gillian McCarthy: The Woman from Rathmines.
Karl Quinn: The Figure in the Window.
Director: Wayne Jordan.
Set Designer: Tom Piper.
Costume Design: Joe O’Cleary.
Lighting Design: Sinéad McKenna.
Sound Design: Ben Delaney.
Composer: Conor Linehan.
Movement Director: Sue Mythen.
Design Assistant: Lily Arnold.