Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Shining City

Went to The Round in Ouseburn (that's in Newcastle, for parochial types) to see a play by Conor McPherson. As with so much of his work, Shining City is a ghost story.
John, a man whose wife has been killed in a car crash, goes to Ian, a therapist, for help. Ian, it turns out, is a former priest with issues of his own. John's problem is, apparently, one of hallucination brought on by guilt. He has seen his wife's ghost. Or, more precisely, he saw her once and ran out of the house. Then he came back and, while he was having a bath, she knocked on the bathroom door and called his name. If this sounds slightly comic, the play does offer quite a few laughs. They are often painful ones, though, as McPherson is an expert on how people fail to communicate their feelings.
The play has a series of twists. The shock ending didn't work so well in a small, intimate space as I suspect it did on Broadway. But it does call into question the too-easy assumptions Ian has made about John's problems, and casts doubt on his own decisions. Suffice to say that, like The Weir and The Seafarer, this is worth catching. Sadly, at the performance I saw the cast - all four of them - were not substantially outnumbered by the audience.

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