Friday, January 14, 2011

Brain Dennehy and the Bull McCabe

We went to the preview of 'The Field' in the Olympia tonight, that grand old dame of theatres in Dublin's Dame Street. The theatre can be a tad uncomfortable as the seating resembles that of a Ryanair flight without the headrest - not great when you are tall and overweight. But it didn't matter because we were spellbound by the Lane Production Joe Dowling directed version of John B.'s classic play.

And a classic it surely is. It is still as relevant and fresh today as it was when John B. penned it, today's Bulls may be bankers and developers rather than land grabbing farmers but the central theme is the same. Greed, bully boys and a sense of entitlement brings disaster into the heart of every home in any community. I'm not going to rehash the storyline here, most of you know it anyway and even if you didn't all you would have to do is look out the window of your own home and you would quickly identify your Bulls, Birds and Mamies. John B had an unerring eye and ear for the human heart and soul and knitted it all together for us, his audience, in a beautifully tailored package. Bravissimo.

Each performance was a joy, the ensemble tight and the tension palpable. Well done all concerned. Brian Dennehy is a consummate actor and although he hasn't replaced Ray McAnally in my heart as the Bull he came pretty damn close. Bosco Hogan as the bishop had several members of the audience automatically blessing themselves after his sermon, this causing a ripple of laughter through the auditorium. The set was magnificent ( although the chairs jarred with me, particularly the Mexican pine one -surely they should have been more kitchen style 60's ?)But if I had to single out one performance it would have to be Derbhle Crotty's Mamie. Her portrayal of an attractive young woman trapped over the pub in a claustrophobic small town whose body and mind has been slowly drained by the bearing of nine ( soon to be ten) babies is superb. I was nearly going to go up on stage and tell her I'd give her a hand with all them weans! But Derbhle, learn to knit properly - you look totally uncomfortable with those needles - get someone to show you how to twine the wool on your fingers correctly - otherwise you'll never get that blanket finished before babby 10 arrives!

Great show, highly recommended.

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