BWW Review: DANCING AT LUGHNASA at TRT is Theatre at its Best
"Dancing as if language had surrendered to music."
By Michael in Dancing at Lughnasa
Dancing at Lughnasa is being performed at Two River Theater through May 13. The 1992 Tony Award winning play is written by Brian Friel and directed by Jessica Stone. It is theatre at its very best with stirring dialogue, the finest staging, and a remarkable cast. You will be swept away by this humorous and heartwarming production about the joys and struggles of family life.
The play is set in a cottage in Western Ireland during the summer of 1936. It tells the story of the five unmarried Mundy sisters, Kate, Chris, Maggie, Agnes and Rose; their brother, Father Jack; and Chris' seven year-old son, Michael. Times are hard, and all of the woman do their best to support the family. The eldest sister Kate, a critical and righteous woman, strives for order in the face of situations that are well beyond her control. Chris is once again being courted by her son's father Gerry, Jack's return from his work as a missionary in Uganda turns out to be unsettling, and employment for family members is in jeopardy. You will become well acquainted with the characters as each of them expresses their longings and regrets. But when there is an opportunity to dance to music from their wireless, all of life's troubles are dispelled and there is complete joy in the moment. Some of the tale is told from the perspective of Michael as an adult, who offers his memories of the summer of 1936 with affection and insight.
The cast includes Megan Byrne as Kate, Michael Cumpsty as Jack, Meredith Garretson as Chris, Mylinda Hull as Maggie; Cillian O'Sullivan as Gerry; Christa Scott-Reed as Agnes; Mandy Siegfried as Rose; and Harry Smith as Michael. This talented troupe of actors impeccably delivers Brian Friel's compelling dialogue and gives the audience an intimate relationship to the characters that they portray.
The Creative Team has done a great job of bringing a true sense of provincial Ireland to the stage. They include scenic design by Tobin Ost; costume design by Gabriel Berry; lighting design by Jason Lyons; sound design by Drew Levy; and hair design by Cookie Jordan. The choreographer is Connor Gallagher; the dialect coach is Blake Segal; the production stage manager is Megan Smith; casting is by Alaine Alldaffer & Lisa Donadio.
Dancing at Lughnasa is a rich and rewarding theatrical experience. Don't miss it. We compliment Artistic Director, John Dias and Managing Director, Michael Hurst for making the show available to area audiences.
Tickets for Dancing at Lughnasa can be purchased by calling 732.345.1400 or by visiting https://www.tworivertheater.org/. Ticket prices range from $40 to $70 with discounts available for groups, seniors, and US Military personnel, their families and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance. $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include best available seats at every performance. The theater is located at 21 Bridge Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701. The lead production sponsor is Springpoint Senior Living Foundation and the media sponsor is The Two River Times.
Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson