Byline: Victor Hallett
The theatre critic David Adams has raised some interesting points in these pages about what he sees as the differences between theatrical theatre and television theatre. Now surely there can't be anything much closer to watching television than three people talking directly to the audience with no more scenery than three chairs on three rectangles of sand.
Catch London Classic Theatre Company's totally gripping production on its tour and you'll discover just how electrifyingly theatrical such a seemingly simple set-up can be. That's partly to do with the quality of the writing and there is no one better than writer Brian Friel at grabbing hold of your attention, making you care about his people and ensuring that their words keep you desperate to know what's going to happen. Molly Sweeney, blind at 10 months old, has a chance to regain her sight in her 40s.
Her ophthalmologist, Mr Rice, once internationally renowned but now stuck back in Ireland, sees a chance to regain his reputation. Her husband, Frank, sees his chance to help another deserving cause by introducing her to new worlds. Only Molly isn't sure that she won't lose more than she'll gain. As each character continues their own story in their own style, sometimes seemingly interrupting each other but never, apart from an occasional hand on shoulder, reacting to each other, we get to know them very well. …