David Baxter sums it up well here. The narrator certainly spent most of his time swiveling around so that the audience could catch at least some of what he was saying, but his fellow actors this wasn't an option and so many in the audience would have struggled to catch what was being said and particular with the heavy accents employed. Apart from that fundamental flaw with the staging they are an exceptional cast. The women in particular are terrific, but one surprise for me was Jo Stone-Fewing's Welsh philanderer Gerry - he really is adorable. I suspect, seeing Sonia Friedman's name on the credits, its destined for an NYC transfer - it would, of course, fit perfectly the venue currently occupied by the Norman Conquests. As for here, its definitely worth seeing, but try and get close to the stage. - rds
06 May 09
The ecstatic reviews created such high expectations but I was left disappointed and underwhelmed. The main problem for me was that the main drama took place in Peter McDonald's narration and that some of that seemed highly unlikely given the way the characters had been portrayed (to go further would give away too much of the story). This created the effect of appearing too much like a book being dramatised. The quality of the actibg was exceptional, which was as expected from such a strong cast. Anna Mackmin's staging could not solve the problems of theatre-in-the-round, particularly actors spending so much time with their backs to large portions of the audience. However it did provide extremely close proximity to the wondrously beautiful Andrea Corr. Although her facial expressions appear to be limited and pre-programmed it is otherwise difficult to believe that this is her stage debut and she was excellent as possibly the most interesting Munday sister. Worth seeing for such an exceptional ensemble but disappointing as a piece. - David Baxter
22 Apr 09
I think these 5 stars are a bit OTT, though it is a very good revival. My recollection of the first production at the National some 18 years ago is of something uplifting with lots of dancing and wistful Irishness! This procuction seems somewhat more poignant, more reflective and with more depth. What stayed with me with this time is the sad lack of fulfillment of the lives of these five sisters and the desperate need for young Michael to leave it all behind.
I like the idea of the older Michael as narrator, though the other actors speaking to the invisible young Michael sometimes seemed clumsy. The in-the-round configuraion, so perfect for The Norman Conquests, may be restrictive for this play. You can't fault the uniformly excellent performances, though. A hit for the Old Vic hot on the heels of the Complicit turkey! - Gareth James
09 Mar 09
Miss it at your peril. A thrillingly poignat yet funny play, brilliantly directed with a fantastic cast. Unfair to name names, but Niamh Cusack and Michelle Fairley are sublime. Remember the Kleenex for both the laughter and the tears. - Geraldine
Whatsonstage.com - Discount London theatre tickets, theatre news and reviews, Theatre videos, Theatre discussion, National Theatre Listings. Covering London's West End, all of Theatreland and all UK theatre. The best
for London Theatre Ticket Discounts.