Thursday, 12 April 2012
Theatre review: Long Day's Journey Into Night
Youngest son Edmund (Big Favourite Round These Parts Kyle Soller) suffers from the onset from an ominous case of Period Drama Cough, and with a phone-call due from the doctor, the family will have to stop pretending they don't know he has Consumption. There's also vague allusions to an illness Edmund's mother Mary (Laurie Metcalf) recently recovered from, but again this is a harsh truth to be faced in the long day: Ever since taking morphine after Edmund's birth, Mary has been addicted. She's been particularly good at hiding her latest relapse but her behaviour is now staring to give her away.
O'Neill's play is full of recriminations: Older son Jamie (Trevor White,) the black sheep of the family, is blamed for giving Edmund ideas that saw him travel the world and get sick. Edmund himself lives with the knowledge that his birth started his mother's addiction. As for successful actor James, he's notorious for being a miser about the tiniest thing, then mortgaging himself to the hilt for questionable land deals. Are his penny-pinching ways, as his sons argue, responsible for many of the family's ills? It's an intense play, and one which I find uncomfortable at times because of a couple of personal things that resonate. But for all its darkness this production sucks you in, largely through the power of the performances.
Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill is booking until the 18th of August at the Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue.
Running time: 2 hours 55 minutes including interval.