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Cyprus Avenue

“Stephen rea is outstanding”

Vicky Featherstone’s production of David Ireland’s knotty play is returning to London’s Royal Court following an acclaimed run in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in 2016.

Despite featuring six characters – Eric (Stephen Rea), his wife Bernie (Andrea Irvine), his daughter Julie (Amy Molloy), his therapist Bridget (Ronke Adekoluejo), his Ulster Volunteer Force acquaintance Slim (Chris Corrigan), and his granddaughter Mary-May – in many ways it feels like a one-man play. This is where its brilliance and its limitations lie.

The production has the air of a slick, well-oiled machine – albeit a machine capable of chomping its audience up into tiny pieces then vomiting out the remains.

Eric believes his newly born granddaughter is actually Gerry Adams and he takes what he thinks is appropriate action. Much has been written about the play’s violence, but its truly tongue-biting quality comes more from the build-up than the execution.

Rea is the epicentre of the production. He gives a phenomenal performance. Slouched in a too-big suit, he looks like his whole being has crumpled in on itself. He’s terrifying and hilarious – or maybe it’s just terrifying that he’s capable of being hilarious.

Adekoluejo and Irvine are new to the cast and they do good work, but with the exception of Slim (superbly acted by Corrigan) everyone apart from Eric – particularly the female characters – are thinly sketched and feel more functional than fully formed. It’s this that stops an otherwise clever, complex and disconcerting play from being truly great.

Cyprus Avenue review at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London – ‘audience-rattling’

Related to this Review

Cyprus AvenueCyprus Avenue

Production Details
Production nameCyprus Avenue
VenueJerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court
StartsFebruary 14, 2019
EndsMarch 23, 2019
AuthorDavid Ireland
DirectorVicky Featherstone
Set designerLizzie Clachan
Lighting designerPaul Keogan
Sound designerDavid Mcseveney
CastAmy Molloy, Andrea Irvine, Chris Corrigan, Ronke Adekoluejo, Stephen Rea
ProducerAbbey Theatre, Royal Court Theatre
VerdictStephen Rea is on outstanding form in David Ireland’s knotty play, returning to London's Royal Court
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Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

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