Oct. 24, 2012 - Issue #888: Winter Guide 2012
The Weir review
The story, penned by playwright Conor McPherson unfolds on what seems to be an ordinary night for the regulars at a tiny pub in rural Ireland, but when a newcomer from Dublin named Valerie is introduced to the group, chilling stories begin to flow as readily as the liquor behind the bar.
The four men try to impress Valerie (Gwyneth Kellii) with their tales, which heighten in suspense and grandeur the longer the night wears on. Valerie has been brought to the tavern by Finbar (Gavin O'Toole), a local businessman who the rest of the men suspect might be trying to win Valerie over, despite being married. The stories begin soon after Valerie and Finbar arrive—each with an implication of truth. Valerie sits and listens politely throughout the evening, but all the while, she has a tragic story of her own waiting to be told.
McPherson's story is a slow burn, but is not without its charms as the characters transfix each other one by one by eerie tales of inexplicable events. Jack (Cody Porter) is particularly impressive at regaling his tale, with wide, darting eyes, drawing out the details to build suspense before the story's climax. Porter is a standout through a good portion of the production with his comedic jabs at his fellow patrons, particularly Finbar, and realism of his character's relatable struggles.
As Irish folk, the entire cast fares well—with O'Toole being a native Irishman himself. The accents are believable and seldom falter aside from a few instances. One of these is Valerie's monologue near the play's conclusion when her story is finally told, but Kellii is so tragic and powerful in her delivery that the accent becomes a minor detail.
The Weir is a play in which characters from all different backgrounds come together through storytelling, revealing layers of themselves throughout the evening, and the Walterdale cast is able to embody the sense of camaraderie that would be present in such an environment, adding comic relief with good natured sparring, creating a poignant and gripping production.
Until Sat, Oct 27 (8 pm)
Walterdale Playhouse, $12-$18
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