Saturday, October 06, 2007

Long Day's Journey into Night at the Gaiety

Aptly named I'm sure a lot of the crowd felt as they left the Gaiety around 23.30. And there were a number of nodders off in the audience. But what a treat for the professional miserabilists. And plenty of references to and quotes from Baudelaire, Nietsche, and the patron saint of miserabilists my old favourite Ernest Dowson:

"They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream."

Four solid hours of a drunken, dysfunctional, argumentative family. Morphine addiction, alcoholism, tuberculosis, wasted talents, infant death etc. This was a full-length uncut version of the play - designed to test even the best upholstered arse. There were lacunae, it was hard to be engrossed all the time. But the art won out over the discomfort, you kept been dragged back into the drama by the quality of the writing and the acting. It's hard to imagine O'Neill's masterpiece being done better. James Cromwell was wonderful as the patriarch James Tyrone - bringing subtlety and shading to a role that could become one-dimensional. The sons Edmond and Jamie were equally well portrayed by Micheal Esper and Aidan Kelly. These are hard parts, the characters must be both pitiful and pitiable. Marie Mullen was a bit OTT as the mother but it's that kind of part I suppose.

And the constant drinking, and the truth telling becoming more pungent as the drink bit, and the fog rolling in. Splendid stuff.