REVIEW: Long Day’s Journey Into Night starring David Suchet and Laurie Metcalf, Theatre Royal Glasgow, 30th March 2012

Following his critically acclaimed performance in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre in 2010, David Suchet returns in Eugene O’Neill’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece. His co-stars include Laurie Metalf, still probably best known as Jackie in Roseanne and Sheldon’s mum in The Big Bang Theory and Kyle Soller (below right) who recently starred in the Royal Court’s production of The Faith Machine for which he won the 2011 Outstanding Newcomer Award. The production opens at the Apollo in the West End on the 3rd of April.

Long Day’s Journey into Night follows the Tyrone family through one tortuous day, as they battle their demons, their pasts, and one another in four extraordinary personal struggles.

This beautifully acted, three hour, four act piece starts innocently enough with David Suchet’s James Tyrone swapping pleasantries with his wife Mary (Laurie Metcalf), their eldest son James Jnr, (Trevor White), and fragile younger brother Edmund (Kyle Soller). By the time the three hours are through, their hard worn facades have been torn down and every hurt laid bare. It is an emotional wringer through which both the cast and audience are well and truly wrung.

The tendancy often, is to go overboard with such melodramatic material as this, but the performances here are so finely wrought and Suchet is a master of understatement, his performance, as with the rest of the cast is perfectly pitched. Soller too deserves special mention, never once straying into histrionics, he is entirely believable as the consumptive Edmund and Metcalf is the epitome of the drug-addled, haunted soul Mary. It is by no means an easy three hours but the sheer quality of the acting and the delivery of the complex, fast flowing dialogue will have you gazing on in awe and clapping loudly at the end. The sustained applause at the end had Metcalf moved to tears. This, simply, is a piece of pure quality. See it if you can.

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