Review: Dancing at Lughnasa, Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Dancing at Lughnasa at Maddermarket Theatre

Dancing at Lughnasa at Maddermarket Theatre - Credit: Archant

Wayne Adrian Drew, a writer and theatre director based in Norfolk and London, hails a new production of Brian Friel's classic play Dancing at Lughnasa.

I attended the first night of Dancing at Lughnasa in 1991 when it transferred from the Abbey Theatre in Dublin to London's Royal National Theatre. Then I went again to its revival two years ago at the Old Vic. as it is a play not to be missed. Brian Friel's brilliantly evocative and moving evocation of a lost Ireland is one of the masterpieces of 20th Century theatre and the current production at the Maddermarket Theatre does it full justice.

Talented director Tony Fullwood has perfectly captured the lyricism and magic of the lives of the five unmarried Mundy sisters as well as their desperation and acute frustrations as they are confronted by a rapidly changing world. His cast is superb, with Maddermarket stalwart Dawn Brindle delivering a captivating central role.

The nuance, energy and sophistication she brings to the part is as fine as any performance I have seen on the London stage. Although it was filmed in 1998 with Meryl Streep, this production is in many ways far better, as the play is essentially a pice of theatre and can only be truly appreciated on stage.

The set is once more of the high standard we have come to expect at this impressive little theatre as are costumes, lighting and sound design. Seeing Dancing at Lughnasa at last Saturday's matinee was a truly memorable experience that equally delighted the audience fortunate enough to attend.

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So, if you want an evening filled with humour, acute observation of character, and sadness too, then there is no better offering in Norwich than this remarkable play.

Dancing at Lughnasa continues until Saturday.

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