The Weir

4
Tue, 10th Oct 17
Seen at Bristol Old Vic, presented by Mercury Theatre Colchester and English Touring Theatre.
The Weir>> (tour)

The Weir - photo by Marc Brenner

Conor McPerson's play might be described as "five short stories and some banter" if it wasn't so well constructed and the characters weren't so beautifully drawn.

The play takes place in a small pub in a rural Irish village way off the beaten track. The locals live quiet lives but one evening, excitement arrives in the person of a new young woman who has rented a local property from Finbar, the local who got away and made it good in the local town.

An attempt to add some local colour by relating one of the colourful legends of the area ends in a drunken exchange of local stories ending with the newcoming revealing the tragedy that brought her to seek solitude. There is a world outside this pub but we only know it from the impact it has had on this small group of slightly lost individuals.

It is difficult to write an engaging play by stitching together monologues, but this is effectively what "The Weir" does - weaving an evening of ghost stories and revelations into a coherent whole without falling into the traps that those old Hammer House of Horror compilation films suffered when the connections between the storytellers were feeble and the stories inhabited different worlds like they were filmed on different stock. It is equally difficult to direct and perform such plays as the monologues can become tiresome to listen to if you are not careful ... fortunately this prodction is very careful and the stories grow organically from the thread of the play helped by subtle lighting changes and the impressive stillness of the listening characters.

A very enjoyable 100 minutes of theatre - no interval as it would seriously break the mood - a memorable production of a play I really enjoy ... 

 


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