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Looking for the words for A Long Day's Journey Into the Night

I1J2xAmwypPgIt's a play that takes a few days to fully feel the force. Not that A Long Day's Journey Into the Night at the Apollo Theatre isn't affecting when you are sitting in the theatre watching, it's just that the affect grows in the days that follows.

And I'm not sure I'm going to be able to find quite the right words but I'll try. 

A Long Day's Journey is widely regarded as Eugene O'Neill's semi-autobiographical play, a play he didn't want published, let alone performed - a wish that was broken after his death. And when you watch it, you can understand why. Even if half of the story is based on real events, conversations and feelings, O'Neill's family life was certainly not a happy one.

The Tyrone's of the play: James Snr (David Suchet), his wife Mary (Laurie Metcalfe) and two sons Jamie (Trevor White) and Edmund (Kyle Soller) all have resentments, hurts and regrets which are exacerbated and antagonised by their various addictions - alcohol in the case of the men and morphine in the case of Mary. 

From the outset, the family is in a heightened state of concern and denial. Mary has returned from what we would now call rehab and the family make a good show of normality while constantly looking for signs of a relapse and bickering when she's out of the room. Adding to the anxiety, youngest son Edmund is sick and awaiting diagnosis which is most likely to be TB.

Following the family over the course of a day, the play explores the fragile, raw relationship of the family and the destructive nature of addiction. The tragedy is subtle and something that haunts you. And much of that must be down to the acting.

It's a long play, 3 hours and 20 minutes including interval, but the cast succeed in making it gripping. In fact the performances are breathtaking with an ease to them so that you can't help but be drawn in.

I'm going to give A Long Day's Journey Into the Night five stars and thanks very much to Stage Won for the ticket because I would have missed it otherwise. It runs at the Apollo until 18 August.

In What's On Stage's round up of 7 reviews  the ratings range from 2 stars (Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, enough said) to 5 stars although they are mainly at the higher end of the scale giving an average of 3.4/5.


David Suchet is in Richard II with Mr W (the fabness of the cast just keeps growing).