Theatre Review: The Weir – The Lyric Theatre
September 6, 2017 Laura Caldwell 0 Comments
Viewing Conor McPherson’s The Weir is like having a really, really good night down your local. Over the course of an hour and 45 minutes, we cosy up in Brendan’s pub, an isolated bar in a small Leitrim town while a vicious storm rages outside. Through superb acting and some gripping story telling the audience quickly becomes enthralled as the characters weave their tales of the unexplained and possibly supernatural, each trying to impress more than the last.
It’s the arrival of a beautiful young stranger from Dublin, Valerie (played by the exceptionally talented Kerri Quinn) that has sparked this storytelling session, and as the tales are told, it’s up to us to figure out whether it’s friendliness or flirtation that is spurring bar man Brendan, businessman Finbar, mechanic Jack and his mate Jim on throughout the night. It’s clear that the stranger now in their midst is stirring things up, and the break Valerie provides from the loneliness and monotony of country life is a welcome one on a night such as this.
With very little motion, movement or action, it’s the words that have the power in this production, and thanks to the realistic atmosphere created by Owen MacCarthaigh’s set and Ciaran Bagnall’s lighting, it’s easy to get lost in these words as there are no unnecessary distractions. Although in today’s society, stories of fairies and ghosts may not usually have the same impact as they would have 20 years ago, the story-writing is still magic, and the audience is on the edge of their seats due to the impeccable delivery by Frankie McCafferty, Garrett Keogh, Patrick Ryan, Marty Maguire and Kerri Quinn.
Directed by Andrew Flynn (who directed McDonagh’s The Pillowman at The Lyric a few years back), and produced by The Lyric and Decadent Theatre Company, this is a charming production that does McPherson proud. However it’s the little details that tend to hold it back: although the howling and whistling of the wind is heard in the first and last scenes, it is close to non-existent the rest of the time which somewhat dampens the spooky atmosphere; the fire which does give out a billow of black smoke when Jim tends it near the beginning of the play, doesn’t seem to glow or flicker the rest of the time, a detail which would again, add to the atmosphere; and in the final scene the characters head out into the dark, unforgiving night, however, a bright white light can be seen when the door is opened, ruining the illusion. Afterall, “There’s no dark like a winter night in the country…”
Running from 5th – 30th September, tickets for The Weir can be bought online here.