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The Weatherman review at Park Theatre, London – ‘spotlights a seedy side of society’

Alec Newman and David Schaal in The Weatherman at Park Theatre, London. Photo: Piers Foley Alec Newman and David Schaal in The Weatherman at Park Theatre, London. Photo: Piers Foley
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There’s a certain point at which two single men living in a houseshare crosses the line from chummy to tragic – let’s call it the Peep Show marker. O’Rourke and Beezer are well into this territory, sharing not only a grotty London flat, but also a double bed.

Their landlord and his lackey arrive one morning, with the promise of free rent for six months if the pair looks after something for a while. The tenants are afraid it’s going to be a dog. It’s a whole lot worse.

Make no mistake, Eugene O’Hare’s debut full-length play is one of the most unrelentingly bleak shows you will see this year. It lifts the lid on a murky underworld and introduces you to the sort of reprehensible people that leave you feeling grubby just by being in their presence.

It’s not everybody’s idea of a pleasant night out at the theatre, sure, but those who skip it are missing out on a Martin McDonagh-esque script that manages to wring out drops of humanity and even laughter in the face of abject misery. Particularly so in the second act, in which a series of crushingly sad monologues are relayed to unresponsive parties.

Credit, too, must go to the seasoned cast who let the grim material do the talking, creating a palpable sense of unease in the audience.

After two and a quarter hours, you’ll relieved to escape this claustrophobic show, but the subject matter will stay with you for days afterwards.

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Verdict
Eugene O’Hare adeptly spotlights a seedy side of society we’d rather not think about
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