The Weir by Conor Mcpherson, who is directing his own new play The Night Alive at the Donmar straight after this, takes place in an evening in an Irish rural pub. There is an attractive woman who is moving into the area and her arrival prompts the regulars to open up and old friendships revisited. It paints an all encompassing picture Irish culture and life including folklore, ghosts and traditions. Each of the character has their own story to tell and it is a subtle examination on these stories and the shadow they cast on each of them.
There is a great subtlety to the play with its mixture of awkward social interactions, tinge of underlying sadness in their lives and the occasional burst of argument about trivial matters. Given the nuances at play, there is a surprising flatness to this play and it rarely gets out of second gear. Directed by Jose Rouke, there is a real dip of energy just before the half way point where there is very little going on. Although the play has a nice ponderous and quietness about it, it lacks the intensity which it occasionally demands. The production is saved by great performances from the cast, especially Dervla Kirwan who plays the new arrival and has the initial unease of a newcomer but opened up to tell her story with haunting sadness. The set by Tom Scutt is a detailed reproduction of a rural Irish pub and although there are plenty of empty chairs and tables, there is a real claustrophobia feel about it.