Friday, 23 March 2012

Long Day's Journey Into Night

Too see a fantastic revival of Eugene O'Neill's claustrophobic play Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Theatre Royal Bath last night, in the production that will shortly hit the West End. David Suchet is astoundingly good as the paterfamilias James Tyrone senior as he drowns the sorrows of missed opportunity and lost dreams in several bottles of whiskey. His performance is every bit as good as that of Jack Lemmon in the 80s West End version. Suchet is supported by three fine actors: Laurie Metcalf plays the drug addicted Mary with utter credibility; while Trevor White as James Jr and Kyle Soller as Edmund are both excellent, especially Soller as he faces the prospect of a sanatorium for his TB. There is much of O'Neill's own American Irish Catholic upbringing in the story, set in a Connecticut summer home 1912, and it effectively manages to combine an emigrant's rags to riches experience with the debilitation of a household addicted to alcohol and drugs. The play has been shortened to three hours in this production, but loses none of its intensity in the process. One of the finest pieces of ensemble acting I have seen in a long time.

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