“A meaningful play about a really important subject”. As I left the Park Theatre having watched Eugene O’Hare’s play The Weatherman, these were the sort of (overheard) comments I heard. Unfortunately, I could not altogether agree.
The Weatherman, Eugene O’Hare’s full-length debut play opens with brief sunny spells but it’s clear that the forecast is for a stormy and changeable production.
The trafficking of human beings – 7,000 identified in the UK in 2018 – is a disgusting blight on our country. The fledgling playwright Eugene O’Hare is among many earnest contemporary writers (working in theatre, film and stage) seeking to shine a light on the problem.
Park Theatre has announced its new July to December 2019 season. Featuring four world premiere productions, two UK and London premieres and a range of revivals from Broadway and the West End and featuring Miriam Margolyes, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Meaghan Martin.
I always find it fascinating to watch how the critical community deals with a play that becomes a big success. The overnight rush to acclaim genius, the enthusiasm with which some greet it, the scepticism that that inspires in others followed by the relief that comes when someone publishes a well-reasoned critique that allows them to say ‘well it isn’t that good, see’.
The play’s the thing though and here, Butterworth has constructed a Northern Irish epic. Set at harvest-time in 1981, deep in County Armagh, the Carney clan are gathering for a humdinger of a do once the work in the field is done.
In that little wooden candlelit nest of magic and wonder that is the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Sam Yates directs a dreamy, fairytale-like Cymbeline. Originally written to be performed across the river at the Blackfriars playhouse (and now playing in that venue’s simulacrum), the play is a tragicomedy with heavy dark elements (jealousy, betrayal, poisoning, the list goes on) none of which appears to do much harm to this reassuring and family-friendly Globe production.