Girl from the North Country
Director and writer Conor McPherson has taken Nobel Literature Prize winner songwriter Bob Dylan´s songs and put them out of context to create a beautiful, touching story. It made me weep my eyes out.
It’s not a musical, it’s not a play, rather a dialogue of the story and songs.
The play is set in Duluth Minnesota during the 1930’s Great Depression. This untimeliness takes Dylan´s songs out of context, giving them new and universal interpretations. The dark drama about love, race, dementia and class is acted superbly. The songs are not the best known nor obvious choices. They are sung by a brilliant cast, many whom are familiar from feature films (especially the Harry Potter films!). Dylan´s songs, combined with the dramatic story and feelings of uncertainty, draw out raw emotions. I wasn’t the only one who ran out of handkerchiefs by the curtain call.
Noël Coward Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4AU. https://www.girlfromthenorthcountry.london/tickets-info. Tickets from £14.75. Ends 24th March.
The Ferryman is a dark family drama written by Jez Butterworth and directed by Sam Mendes. It is set in Northern Ireland in the 1980´s. The story of the Carney family on their farm grips you even if you can’t quite get past the thick Irish accents. The fate of a missing brother, a lost lover, triggers the story which harks back to old family feuds well beyond the Easter Rising. Even if you’re not familiar with recent Irish history the individual stories are heartening, played by brilliant actors. The inevitability of doom looms throughout the play, despite the parade of colourful characters (including a live baby), dancing and occasional merrymaking.
Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6AR. http://theferrymanplay.com/. Tickets from £12. Ends 19th May.