The Weir Review
Last night hubby and I headed out on a little date night to see the press launch of The Weir in The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. We were really looking forward to a night out and even more looking forward to seeing the play as we haven’t been to the theatre since the summer and have really missed it.
I’ll confess, I’d not heard of the play The Weir before, but it was written in 1997 by Conor McPherson and it has certainly done the rounds, with runs in London and internationally too. This production is co produced by The Sherman Theatre and Tobacco Factory Productions and is showing at The Sherman Theatre until the 22nd October 2016.
Not knowing much about a play before I see it is new to me and I was quite excited to watch it. The scene opens in a rural bar in Ireland where we meet Jack (a local garage owner) and Brendan (the barkeeper). They appear friendly and Jack helps himself to drinks from behind the bar and they discuss the fact that they are both single and a little bit of local gossip about a businessman Finbar who has been seen with a young woman, despite the fact that he is married. They are soon joined by Jimmy, who joins in with the gossip.
You get the sense that they live in a very rural and isolated community. The three men are single, and one still lives with his mother. They are very familiar with each other and clearly spend a lot of time in the pub, whiling away the hours with nothing else to do. The arrival of a new woman to the area is a massive talking point as is the gossip about Finbar being seen spending a lot of time with her. The opening scenes are funny, dotted with genuine humour or craic as the Irish would say.
Right on cue Finbar arrives, with the young lady in question in tow and she is introduced as Valerie, who has recently moved to the area from Dublin. At first she seems out of place. She is the only woman in a pub of men. She asks for a glass of wine to find to her embarrassment that they don’t sell wine. She is welcomed with open arms though, Brendan fetches a bottle of wine from the house for her and she is even welcomed into the house to use the facilities because the ladies aren’t up to scratch.
The group start to tell Valerie some stories about the local area, which turn out to be ghost stories, and quite eerie ones at that. Irish folklore and the supernatural are brought up which makes for an interesting layer to the stories.
The atmosphere and stage setting in the theatre was brilliant and the acting was superb. I found myself enthralled by the stories, listening to them as if I was in the pub with them. I honestly couldn’t take my eyes off the storyteller, only being brought back to reality afterwards with the faint sound effect of the wind in the background.
The group are brought together through the telling of the stories, and when Valerie tells her own story, it is so sad and shocking and creepy that it made me cry.
In the act of her telling her story she is brought out of her isolation and into the fold of the group. As the play moves forward she joins the men and is no longer the outsider. She smokes with them, and moves over to drinking brandy with the men rather than the wine she started with. As the play finishes you are left with the real sense that she has been embraced into their little rural community and that she will no longer be alone.
It’s very hard to write a review of The Weir, it is so unique and personal you really just have to see it for yourself. You won’t regret seeing it, and I’m sure it’s a play I’ll remember for years to come.
Tickets are available online here.
Disclosure we were gifted tickets to the press evening and show for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.