Review: Daniel Radcliffe is the funny and tragic Cripple of Inishmaan
Review: Death Tax, second play in the Royal Court's weekly rep

Review: Ciaran Hinds in The Night Alive, Donmar Warehouse

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Following on swiftly from the Donmar's production of Conor McPherson's The Weir is his new play The Night Alive.

Like The Weir the story unfolds in one room, this time the bedsit of Tommy (Ciaran Hinds), and the narrative revolves around the arrival of a woman this time Aimee (Caoilfhionn Dunn). While the arrival of Valerie in The Weir brings out the verbal testosterone in the men of the play, Aimee brings a mixture of hope and trouble.

Tommy is Aimee's knight in shining armour coming to her assistance when she is attacked. A relationship of sorts blossoms each helping the other in their own way but it puts Tommy's lifestyle into sharp focus while he remains blind to Aimee's, something that has dramatic consequences.

Where The Weir's dark edges were more supernatural, in The Night Alive it is a sense of a danger and there are moments where the tension is palpable. Of course it is peppered with Conor McPherson's wit and humour but it doesn't quite reach the same level of warmth and heart.

Over the course of the timeline of the narrative certain things happen that then go unreferenced and it seems odd to include such drama only to sideline it. In the programme there is an article by Peter McDonald who has worked with Colin McPherson. He talks about how the playwright tries to get the audience to a place where it is just as much about "what is happening between the lines" as what the actors are saying, the problem for me was I just had too many questions about what wasn't being said. There were one or two big holes that just felt too big to fill in by performance and audience imagination alone.

The Night Alive has its moments not least in that like The Weir, you do feel you are there with the characters but it didn't feel quite as rounded. Great performances and another fabulous set but you can't help but compare it to The Weir which just felt more rounded.

It runs at the Donmar Warehouse until July 27 and is an hour and 45 minutes without interval.


Michael McElhatton plays Doc in this but he has worked with Andrea Riseborough in the Shadow Dancer and she was in The Pride with Mr W.

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