“THERE’S NOTHING WORSE THAN DECORATIONS AFTER CHRISTMAS. THAT’S THE WAY I SOMETIMES USED TO FEEL PUTTING MY CLOTHES ON IN THE MORNING.”
With no prior knowledge of the performance I was about to watch that evening other than this quote, I headed off to the Sherman Theatre with a sense of anticipation and my 17-year-old sister. But I related to that feeling, so was pretty sure that I was about to watch a captivating story and indeed it was.
Conor McPherson’s 80 minute tale for three actors revolves around John – an alcoholic undertaker, seriously troubled by how his life is unfolding. With strong links to the traditional story of a Christmas Carol, John embarks on a personal journey without ever really leaving his office – but on this journey, instead of being visited by ghosts; he’s visited by people in his life who unearth the ghosts of his past. Along the way, we begin to learn more about John as his past is slowly uncovered to reveal his cold-hearted, solitary tendencies – each presented and explained in an engaging way.
Although the words all pivot on revisiting John’s dark and unfulfilled life choices, I felt myself begin to sympathise and feel pity towards him. The more you learn about his prior encounters and how he has frittered away and fractured relationships, the more you empathise with his battle with addictions. As John’s awareness grows, a new light is cast and he starts to accept and attempt to salvage his life.
Although predominantly sombre, the performance is gripping. It was riddled with dry wit and humorous responses during conversations. The reasonably short show, left me wanting to know more and more about all the characters involved and the outcomes of their situations.
Perfectly told and performed. Directed by Matthew Xia, the story was gripping from the offset and did not once lose steam. The acting, story and environment of the theatre all sat in harmony.
Until Feb 17
Reviewer supported by Wales Critics Fund