THE NIGHT ALIVE
by Conor McPherson.
Gaiety Theatre 53/54 South King Street Dublin 2 To 4 October 2015.
Wed-Sat 7.30 pm Mat 3, 4 October 2.30 pm.
Runs 1hr 45min No interval.
TICKETS: +353 1 677 8899/0818 719300.
Review: Anne O’Leary 29 September.
Finely acted character-based play.
This long-awaited play which has already been staged in New York and London has prompted media frenzy around its writer Conor McPherson. It is uplifting to hear his view of theatre as a place of transcendence and his vision that it will subsume film and TV and any other threat besides.
The play receives much attention too; yet although it might be one of his best it is not one of my favourites. Critics are seeing Pinter and Sean O Casey in it but I see elements of Only Fools and Horses in the household of Doc and Tommy where the currency is out-of-date cigars or dog biscuits or whatever job lots need to be shifted from the lockup.
The stranger who enters their midst is Aimee, a prostitute who has been beaten and is rescued by Tommy. The three live together as a type of dysfunctional family in their squalid one room shelter – it cannot be called home as part of the dramatic tension is achieved by the ease with which other characters intrude on this space from all sides, through clearly demarcated front and garden doors. Uncle Maurice the landlord who lives upstairs interrupts constantly and the man who has beaten Aimee arrives unannounced.
McPherson directs the play himself. Interesting techniques are employed. The play runs through without an interval which keeps the momentum building. The acting is superb from all five accomplished actors, essential in this play as plot here is abandoned in favour of development of character. The characters are typical McPherson, contradictory, acting out of self-interest and usually getting away with something. That is the mischievous element in his writing.
There is a surprise at the end, a most unlikely outcome which could be described as a supernatural element. That, combined with Doc’s final revelations on Black Holes and what heaven might be like, keeps the audience in that “communal trance” that McPherson speaks about in his interviews.
Tommy: Adrian Dunbar.
Doc: Laurence Kinlan.
Aimee: Kate Stanley Brennan.
Uncle Maurice: Frank Grimes.
Kenneth: Ian-Lloyd Anderson.
Director: Conor McPherson.
Designer/Costume: Alyson Cummins.
Lighting: Zia Holly.
Sound: Gregory Clarke.
Fight director: Donal O’Farrell.