Where? The Abbey Theatre, 26/27 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 2
Running: 7.30 nightly, until July 14th
This play, from the pen of one of Ireland’s most acclaimed scribes Tom Murphy, deals with themes of property and the effects of emigration so it’s surprising that it was first performed in 2000 at the height of the Celtic Tiger. Although it’s set in 1950s Ireland, the issues it deals with are completely relevant to a 2012 audience given the events of recent years. It follows the de Burca family – a mother and her three daughters – as they prepare to sell their home and land in order to relieve financial strain. Their decision to sell comes as just about all of the local emigrants return for their annual summer visit and one returnee, old family friend Christy Cavanagh, is set to irrevocably change their lives forever.
This is a beautifully written piece with well-rounded characters that you really care about. It is hugely hilarious and deeply poignant in equal measure and really captures the spirit of the Ireland of the era. Of course this is helped by the amazing performances from all the cast and a stunning set by Paul O’Mahony creates a completely believable world for them to perform in.
This will certainly strike a chord with a contemporary audience and is a marvellous piece of theatre. I would advise that it is rather long though, coming in at just over three and a half hours (including interval) but don’t let this put you off as you will be gripped for every second of that time. All the scenes are short and snappy so boredom never sets in. A perfect example of what can be created when great talent comes together, this is must-see theatre!