Feb 3rd, 2018
If you are seeing Long Day's Journey Into Night at a matinee, like I did, the play might feel a lot like its name - a long journey into night - due to its three-hour run time. But thanks to incredible acting from a sublimely picked cast of five, your attention is held through every high and low, every outburst and confession.
The only thing more haunting than watching this loving family unravel is the beautiful 'glass house' set designed by Rob Howell. Alongside Peter Mumford's clever lighting, the dated living room on stage and those who inhabit it are bathed in layers of light which start off brilliant blue but fade to grey and murky as the story progresses, and our characters' world plunges towards night. Like a black-framed greenhouse encasing the set within, every action is reflected onto the roof and walls of the structure, making it both claustrophobic and very revealing all at once.
Lesley Manville is on stage for most of the play's duration, an impressive feat on its own alongside her exceptional portrayal of addiction in a time when help and understanding were severely lacking, especially for women. Jeremy Irons is perfectly cast as the aging actor painfully recalling all he was - and all he could have been. His tall frame looms over his fragile wife, full of rage one moment, and then longing and regret the next. His stature and mannerisms go far in convincing us of their enduring love in spite, as they would both say, in spite of the past.
Sons Jamie and Edmund played by Rory Keenan and Matthew Beard, as well as Jessica Regan's housemaid, round out the cast, each helping to diffuse the tension. That said, however, Edmund is largely the unwilling focus of much of the drama whilst receiving little of the comforting he so desperately needs.
This is an excellent production from an exceptional cast and creative team helmed by director Richard Eyes. I would be surprised to not see it encounter several prominent awards - or nominations at the very least - during its run here on the West End.
View our show pages for more information about Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wyndhams Theatre.
Sound good to you? Share this page on social media and let your friends know about it.
I want email news and updates for events in my area! Read how we protect your data.