Dancing at Lughnasa

The new production at the Olivier is very good. I’ve read criticism of the stage, but I thought the way it combines inside and outside with a real sense of perspective was very clever and effective. The cast, featuring Siobhán McSweeney and Ardal O’Hanlon (as Father Jack) is very strong. The play itself is a vivid slice of life with strong and interesting characters, living complex lives that are just about to break down. It is clearly about memory, with the protagonist narrating his life in retrospect and providing the voice for his otherwise invisible younger self. At the end of the day, though, I don’t know what it tells us beyond what any bit of a life might do. To mention a small reservation, I wasn’t sure about Father Jack’s accounts of the beliefs of the Ugandans he lived among: are they accurate or just invented? But an interesting evening.