Written by Brian Friel
Directed by Josie Rourke
In an exquisite transformation the Olivier stage is transformed to a farmhouse set in the lush County Donegal countryside against which Brian Friel’s meticulously observed take on 1930’s Ireland plays out.
Very much an ensemble piece, Friel’s dramatic landscape takes in the essence of faith, family, tradition, shame, love and industrialisation - telescoping these vast themes into a play of poignant and ingenious intimacy.
Fictional yet drawn from history, the narrative is focussed upon five sisters and the three men who impact upon their family. All eight performances are magnificent and finely nuanced, combining to offer an evening of bittersweet observations on the frailties of life and family and of a time, barely 90 years ago, that could almost be from a different world.
At not far short of three hours there are times when one's attention flags, but Josie Rourke directs with a sharp perception and played out on Robert Jones’ stunning set, the evening is an occasion of fine theatre.
Runs until 27th May
Photo credit: Johan Persson