THE WEIR by CONOR McPHERSON, playing at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, is a tantalising web of ghost stories, Irish faery-tales and real-life misery.
In this production directed by Amanda Gaughan, a quintet of Irish actors use their soft voices to tell a series of stories that have impacted on their lives to huge effect. There’s no plot as such, but there’s a wealth of story-telling to hold the audience attentive throughout the 100 minute straight-through performance.
Jack, the died in the wool local man, tells a tale involving Faeries. Like elephants, only smaller, they have their historic routes. If you build your house on one of them then it’s the house that’s in the wrong place not the faery traveller. Finbar, who saw the gaps and made money knows that some people, often teenagers with their overly sensitive, hormone flushed perception, can see the dead. Call it coincidence to help you sleep, but it may drive the hardest headed man out of his habitat in search of company.
Jim, the odd job labourer met a ghost who would have been buried in a particular grave for a particular reason (I won’t give the spoiler). Jim had flu and a high temperature so maybe there was no ghost. And Valerie, the blow-in with her air of rigid control, has a human story unequalled in its horror by any of the supernatural ones.
And that brings us full circle to hear just why Jack never left the country-side. Presided over by the young barman, Brendan, the group bat their stories and memories to and fro. It’s a huge pleasure to listen to. Difficult human frailty wrapped in myth without the need for protagonist and antagonist. It’s a gem of a play. I recommend it.
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The Weir Run continues till 6th February
The Crucible 18/02 – 19/03