The Quare Fellow

ISABEL COCKAYNE Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds


For all its 50 years, Brendan Behan's controversial satire centred on the hours leading up to an execution remains disturbing and thought- provoking.

As soon as we walk in, the set of five prison cell doors and a railing, setting up a barrier between us and them, evokes a sense of restraint.

Then, with 17 actors playing in an incredibly small space, suddenly your own space feels cramped. And in the second half you feel time drag on for the wardens waiting for a man's death.

You may also want to watch:

Actor Kathy Burke, who apparently typed out the play set in 1949 to understand it better, has only a light touch as a director to the play.

As in Waiting for Godot, we never see the Quare Fellow – the man condemned to hang for murdering then dismembering his brother “like a pig”.

Most Read

Still a picture of him grows and we learn more about his crime and victim through his inmate's quick banter. Despite the onerous subject, the sense of warmth and wit of human beings shines through the dialogue.

In this production, the acting is crisp and unpretentious and thanks to that you get flashes of how a jailed man despairs in his predicament.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus