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Time Out Theater Review: "The Weir"

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Off-Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre is currently presenting a new staging of the ghostly Olivier Award winning play "The Weir." NY1 contributing critic David Cote of Time Out New York filed the following review.

Everyone likes a good ghost story, but few tell them as well as Conor McPherson. The Dublin-based playwright has woven spirits, and the odd vampire, into several plays over the years. Now the Irish Rep has revived one of his best and earliest: 1997’s "The Weir", a pub drama that catches your heart even as it raises gooseflesh.

The Irish coastal town where "The Weir" is set is ordinary: A hotel for tourists, historical points of interest and a shabby but cozy pub popular among the locals. That bar is run by Brendan, destined for a life of brooding bachelorhood. Jack is one of his regulars, a cantankerous big-talker, as well as lean, taciturn Jim. One night they are joined by local braggart and businessman Finbar and Valerie, a young woman from Dublin. In real time, McPherson spins out 90 minutes of tense, funny and creepy atmosphere, as one by one characters tell ghost stories: Things they witnessed or have passed into lore. Finally, it’s Valerie’s turn, and she delivers a stunner.

The ensemble, under Ciaran O’Reilly’s keen, watchful direction, couldn’t be better: Dan Butler’s boisterous, lonely Jack; Billy Carter’s bone-weary Brendan; John Keating as kind, dreamy Jim; Sean Gormley’s bluff but boyish Finbar; and lastly, a riveting and raw turn by Tessa Klein as Valerie. We often think of acting as graceful movement and forceful speech, but here, the virtuosity is in the listening. For shivers, laughs and a night of master storytelling, you cannot top "The Weir".

We’re in the midst of a hot, sticky summer, and there’s no better A/C than the chill going up your spine at "The Weir".

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