Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa is a memory play told from the perspective of Michael (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), nephew to five sisters living in a cottage near the fictional town of Ballybeg. It is slow to get going, but it gets under your skin, and you don’t realise it until long afterwards. It’s a play that is joyful and sad, charming and moving.
‘The thoughtful richness of the play is fully realised’: DANCING AT LUGHNASA – National Theatre ★★★★
Sadness and failure have their own grandeur, like the bleak back-hills projected behind Robert Jones’ sweeping vista of a set. In Josie Rourke’s deeply atmospheric production of Dancing At Lughnasa at the National Theatre, rural Donegal desolation looms behind small domesticity, just as the pagan wildness of human nature threatens the threadbare sedateness of Catholicism.
‘There is plenty to ponder’: WOMEN, BEWARE THE DEVIL – Almeida Theatre
Women, Beware The Devil at the Almeida Theatre is a difficult play to pin down. It starts in the modern day with the ‘literal’ devil (Nathan Armarkwei-Laryea) breaking the fourth wall to lament how he isn’t evoked or blamed for anything anymore. He also cheekily spoils the plot of the play.
‘The play struggles for dramatic momentum’: WOMEN BEWARE THE DEVIL – Almeida Theatre
What are the limits of a woman’s ambition at a time when she had no power? Lula Raczka’s new play Women Beware the Devil explores accusations of witchcraft and the meaning of evil at the outbreak of the Civil War in the early part of the 1640s, but while that makes for an interesting premise and context, the story is really about the ambitions of three women of different ages and class in the same house trying to control their environment and the future through their actions.