Theatre review: The Night Alive

In the beginning this play has all the promise of a real roustabout evening, a couple of jokers with the gift of the gab, real Dubliners with quick repartee.

Tommy (Adrian Dunbar) is bit of a Del Boy, wheeling and dealing, a little stash of Euro under the floor board in his messy bed sit, part of his uncle Maurice’s house (Frank Grimes).

His mate is Doc (Laurence Kinlan) short for Brain he explains, a young man with a swagger and a great brotherly love for Tommy. Into this ménage à trois comes Aimee (Kate Stanley Brennan) rescued by Tommy from the street outside where she was lying having been beaten up by her boyfriend Kenneth (Ian-Lloyd Anderson). She’s accepted on the understanding it’s only for a few days until her wounds heal and she’s stronger. She fits in and joins the great dance scene where the two boys move and shake to Marvin Gaye and ‘What’s Going On’. 

Gradually a relationship builds between Tommy and Aimee and Doc feels the chill of rejection. He feels more than a chill when her boyfriend arrives, a violent twisted character who takes revenge.

The play runs for one hour and 45 minutes and it is the fastest one hour and 45 minutes I’ve known for a long time. From an hilarious beginning to a tense situation where all seems lost. But is it?

The Night Alive is written and directed by Conor McPherson and he deserves to take a bow. The language, a bit rich at times but acceptable, is real Dub, fruity and clever and a joy to listen to. His play has had mixed reviews especially in London, but the Lyric Theatre audience on Thursday evening loved it and came away with a lot to think about, the twists and turns of the plot challenge and delight but we are left with hope that Tommy will find happiness.

by Anne Hailes

The Night Alive
Lyric Theatre
until 31st October 2015

Post Author: Belfast Times

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