SUBMISSION DATE: FEBRUARY 9, 2000
The buildup was enormous: Olivier Awards in London, acclaim in New York…and 60 minutes of setup in the first part of the intermissionless play. Huge expectation for a major climactic moment. Unfortunately, the piece doesn’t really deliver. Conor McPherson’s talky 1997 drama has some poetic language, a few ghostly tales, and a bevy of Irishmen hanging around a bar telling stories. It’s a specialty of McPherson’s native land, in addition to drinking (which is also prodigious in the play).
In a small, country pub, several craggy local barflies try to impress a newly arrived young city-gal by telling scary, eerie stories. But she outdoes them all with a harrowing tale of her own, a true-life horror with a bit of the supernatural thrown in. Unfortunately, it’s not as jaw-dropping as we’ve been led to expect, and the men don’t get as unleashed as the title (a levee or dam) would suggest. The performances are competent and credible, but with the varying accents and endless (though jocular) verbosity, the evening, however short, meanders as slowly as water over a weir.
©2000 Patté Productions Inc.