The Weir by Conor McPherson is widely acclaimed as a contemporary masterpiece. First performed in 1998 it is simply a moment in time in Brendan’s Bar, in North West Ireland; where tales from the past cause unrest and turmoil and the arrival of a female visitor brings new tensions to the locals.
The script is excellent, a series of monologues interspersed with idle chat capturing the isolation, charm and restrictions of living in remote areas.
Next Stage has taken on a huge challenge with this production. It is a true ensemble piece and the cast work hard supporting each other and bringing a true sense of camaraderie to proceedings. The accents are difficult to manage and sustain especially in such a detailed script where the individual stories are paramount.
Michael Bijok (Brendan) is a jovial, fair and understated bar owner with an endearing blunt humour. Liz Wilson (Valerie) is the visitor in the male throng made up of Richard Matthews (Jack), Ren Leming (Jim) and Steve Leanaghan (Finbar).
The lighting design from Chris Nutall creates a good atmosphere alongside an effective intimate set.
This is a good piece and a great example of contemporary writing from an outstanding playwright. Running at 90 minutes without an interval, the strong colloquial language is essential to the nature of the location and reality of the characters involved.