The Quare Fellow
From: Wednesday, 25th May 2005
To: Saturday, 2 July 2005
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Based on Behan's own experience of 14 years internment in Mountjoy for his Republican activity, The Quare Fellow is set in an Irish prison and is a subtle condemnation of capital punishment. Described by Behan himself as "a comedy-drama", it has a large ensemble of brightly drawn, colourful characters with vivid dialogue. Its construction is highly original in that the audience never see or hear the condemned man who, in a sense, is the central figure. The Quare Fellow was premiered in Dublin in 1954 and first presented in Britain by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1954. The subsequent six-month West End run of a play with such a sharp political impact at a time when judicial hanging was still practised by the British and Irish governments, was unprecedented.
30 May 2005
NOTE: The following review dates from April 2004's and this production's last run at London's Tricycle Theatre. For current cast information, see performance listings.
Having now seen The Quare Fellow in its transfer to Londonís Tricycle Theatre, I have to disagree almost entirely with my Glasgow colleague below. Brendan Behanís 1954 play doesnít aim for fireworks but rather a deliciously slow burn in its slice-of-life portrayal of the 24 hours leading up to a hanging in an Irish prison.
As the minutes tick by and the related ritual tasks are ticked off, we become acquainted with the myriad prisoners and warders who populate this institutional community, as well as its visiting officials and hangmen, and witness the impact the impending execution has on each. Black humour, resignation, altercation, distraction, justification Ė itís a wide variety of coping mechanisms that tell a rich tale.
And itís all the richer i...
Latest User Review
22.214.171.124) - 26 June 2005:
Though it is great to see 17 very good actors on the Tricycle stage in a well-directed and well-designed production, I just don't think this play is worth it. If the man hadn't had a famous 'other life', would this play really have lasted ? I doubt it. We're seeing this play in 2005 because of the notoriety of it's author NOT because the play has become a classic worthy of revival....