Two Strands of theatre unite brilliantly in Conor McPherson's The Weir. In Irish love of fable and Chekhovian sense of waste. (...)
The less said of the plot, the better: you should discover it for yourself. But the action takes place in a small rural bar, complete with smoking stove, in the Sligo or Leitrim area on a windly, wintry night. The regulars' tippling is interrupted when Finbar, the local property-owning hotshot, brings in a fugitive from Dubai, Valerie, who has just bought a house in the area. As the man show Valerie black-and-white bar-room photographs of the neighbouring weir and abbey, they start to spin a series of supernatural tales.
Each story, in classic fashion, reveals something about its teller. Jack, the crusty bachelor garage-owner, shows his love of language and fireside yarn. Finbar displays the insecurity concealed by his cock-of-the-walk strut. And Jim, Jack's quiet helpmate tethered to his aged mammy, unspools his own preoccupation with death. But McPherson's play is much more that a series of hair-rising ghost stories. It offers, in a little over 90 minutes, an extraordinary rich pictures of Irish rural life, of its superstitions, its solitude, its strong pecking order, its clannish resentment of outsiders - especially the German tourists who arrive like swallows each summer.
PcPherson is also saying something about sexuality and the nature of the Irish imagination, about the residual fear of woman ...
Michael Billington, Guardian