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Tuesday 12 July 2016

Faith Healer, play by Brian Friel, Donmar Warehouse, London, 10* out of 10

Theatre as one hopes to see it; a masterpiece, worth a trip to London. 

Frank Hardy (Stephen Dillane), the fantastic faith healer – one night only, travels through Wales and Scotland with his show, his girlfriend (or wife?) Grace (Gina McKee) and his Cockney manager Teddy (Ron Cook). As they tell us the story of their lives together in partly conforming, partly colliding accounts a dark and compelling tale emerges.

Irish playwright Brian Friel, who sadly died in October 2015, is one of the greats of English speaking theatre and the Faith Healer is a great piece of writing. The powerful and moving story is developed in four spell-binding monologues of poetic prose, reminiscent at times of Dylan Thomas’ writing.

The production as the Donmar is dramatic theatre at its best as set (Es Devlin), direction (Lindsay Turner), acting performances, content and form of the play (the late Brian Friel) are all at a high level and perfectly matched to each other.

Theatre as one hopes to see it; a masterpiece, worth a trip to London. At the end, stunned silence followed by enthusiastic applause from the theatre filled to the last seat.

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