The Weir review: McPherson’s language gets lost in the flow

Careless direction means Decadent’s production never becomes the sum of its parts

Venue: Everyman

Date Reviewed: June 28th, 2016

Website: everymancork.com

Phone: 0214557823

Wed, Jun 29, 2016, 14:01

   

★★★

When the cast of Decadent Theatre’s production of The Weir gather around the fireplace for warmth and solace nobody notices that the fire is out. That small careless fact just about sums up the problems of this presentation: issues of set design, such as the location of an important photograph discussed by two players with their backs to the audience, and of direction, such as the avoidance of vocal projection, defeat the required atmosphere. And it’s this that Conor McPherson’s play depends on for its compassion and its resonance.

The beauty of this work is in the language. Within it, the characters emerge as equally trapped by and equally conscious of the isolation that they have chosen. Their comfort lies in the lore that makes a community believe in itself, for lack of anything else. But the language has to be focused, believed, produced and heard, and the decision to render it so intimately or so casually challenges McPherson’s skill in holding his loose conversational plot together.

Almost a thematic nod to Patrick Kavanagh’s Epic, as a reflection on the importance of small things, three friends gather in a rural pub to await the arrival of the only apparently successful man in the village. He will be bringing along an incomer, a woman who has bought a long-deserted house nearby. The house has a history, and so do all the characters who tell their tales of eerie encounters and half-hauntings; the incomer has a personal tragedy to relate, which, in its awkwardly introduced actuality, puts the phantoms of the night to shame.

Apart from Garrett Keogh’s worldly Finbarr, who likes to “tell it like it is”, the problem may lie in the quietude of the play itself, which overcomes the gathering of fine talent brought together by director Andrew Flynn.

Runs until July 2, then tours to Kilkenny (July 7 to 9) and Dún Laoghaire (July 12 to 30)