Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Brian Friel

Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Tomorrow morning, Gar O’Donnell is leaving Ballybeg and the Ireland of his childhood. Leaving his father and the lads. Leaving Kate. There’s a dream across the ocean, of Cadillacs, Coke floats and girls: a dream of America. On his last night in town a series of visitations, real and imagined, force Gar to confront the choices he's made and the promise of the future. 4.2 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Donmar Warehouse
Director Lyndsey Turner
Cast Paul Reid, Rory Keenan, James Hayes, Valerie Lilley, Julia Swift, Laura Donnelly
From July 2012
Until September 2012
Box Office 0844 871 7624
 

Tomorrow morning, Gar O’Donnell is leaving Ballybeg and the Ireland of his childhood. Leaving his father and the lads. Leaving Kate. There’s a dream across the ocean, of Cadillacs, Coke floats and girls: a dream of America. On his last night in town a series of visitations, real and imagined, force Gar to confront the choices he's made and the promise of the future.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

A remarkable vision of loneliness and ambivalence. Although Friel depicts emigration as a painful prospect, the play pulses with humour. This is a wistful and deeply moving production — the best I’ve seen at the Donmar since Josie Rourke took over there.

01/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Times

Libby Purves

Friel is not a pathos-peddler: this is no Angela’s Ashes account of grinding poverty, but nearer to our time and more ambiguous. Despite the static boredom of his hometown, Gar has been to college and loves playing Mendelssohn records. America does not await him with a shovel and a hovel, but a job and a fond aunt. The malaise of a family haunted by the long-dead mother strikes universal chords. Gar’s inner howl of male unhappiness — “Have pity on us, and to Hell with all strong silent men!” — echoes down the years, as we long for father and son to acknowledge their unspoken bond before parting ... See for yourself.

02/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Stage

Jeremy Austin

Lyndsey Turner finds even more humour and poignancy in the script than that created by Friel. She allows the emotion of the performances to energise the production rather than over-power it. The scene in which Gar remembers his mother wraps the audience in its arms. And the evocation of the shattering of Gar’s happiest memory of his father, is gripping - Rob Howell’s set and Tim Lutkin’s lighting becoming a powerful narrative aid.

01/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Independent

Paul Taylor

The excellent Keenan as the private self turns his frustration at the emotional opacity of his father into wacky vaudeville, parodying the oldster’s mundane nightly rituals as a fashion show. But Reid beautifully conveys Gar’s wary longing to ask this taciturn figure whether an idyllic day of closeness he remembers between the two of them in a blue boat when he was a child of 10 has any basis in fact rather than in wish-fulfilling fantasy. And Hayes gives you tiny heartbreaking hints of the affection for Gar that has never found a means of expression.

02/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Sunday Times

David Jays

Friel announced his Chekhovian breadth in this play: each disappointed character might have a similar internal monologue voicing a fuller sense of self - especially Valerie Lilley’s superlative housekeeper, “fluke-feet Madge.” Lyndsey Turner’s unevenly cast production catches the play’s twinges of loss.

05/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Ian Shuttleworth

Astute casting of Irish actors and the dialect coaching of Tim Charrington mean not only that Friel’s natural ear for the rhythms and cadences of north-west Irish speech is respected, but even that the region’s medial “y” is deliciously audible when, for instance, Kate calls the protagonist “Gyar”. It is a poignant collective portrait of the impossibility of leaving behind one’s own past, nor of living in it.

01/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Michael Billington

It is the interaction between Paul Reid's public and Rory Keenan's private Gar that gives the play its dynamic. Both are first-rate – but Ireland's tragedy, Friel implies, lies in the inability to own up to emotion. You see this most poignantly in the relationship between Gar and his widowed da, played impeccably by James Hayes as a silent, sombre, watch-chained figure encased in the rituals of small-town life. What's moving is that neither Gar nor his father can express their love for each other. There's a revealing moment when the housekeeper says of the old man that "just because he doesn't say much doesn't mean that he hasn't feelings like the rest of us"; the Irish lilt means that, to an English ear, "feelings" sounds extraordinarily like "failings".

01/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Observer

Susannah Clapp

Bathed in the lassitude of a cramping rural Ireland, this is Friel summoning echoes of other writers and proving that drama is also literature. There is Chekhov: wary of and yet inviting nostalgia, this play ends, as does The Cherry Orchard, on the disappointment of an old retainer. On the other hand, Beckett: James Hayes, as the sad-jowled father who descends stoically into emotion with the caution of a swimmer entering the North Sea, pronounces "Another day over" with gluttonous gloom. Behind everything is the desolate family silence that laps the fiction of Anne Enright and John McGahern.

05/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

The Gars are complex, and the piece is multilayered, moving between present reality, daydreams about the future, and regretful flashbacks. Philadelphia, Here I Come! can, for all that, occasionally seem schematic and underdeveloped. Turner's production also needs more varied tempi. The intention is presumably to be instantly engaging, but th ere is an excess of motor-mouthed perkiness and insufficient bleak silence.

12/08/2012

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore