The Night Season (2015)
In County Sligo, old Lily has just a few months to live and Patrick, her son-in-law lives mostly in the local pub, while his three daughters, Judith, Rose and Maud are still reeling from their mother’s desertion more than 15 years previously. Yet the future holds promise – a handsome lodger (an actor playing the role of Yeats in a film being made nearby) offers joy and hope to two of the Kennedy women.
Elsewhere, for Patrick and another of his daughters, love arises from old and unexpected sources. Funny, rude and moving with plentiful Irish charm, the play wears its literary references lightly but has echoes of Yeats and Chekhov with a dash of Shakespeare and references to Fred Astaire and Marlene Dietrich, too.
- Lily O' Hanlon - Káit Feeney
- Patrick Kennedy - David Cox
- Judith Kennedy - Natalie Barker
- Rose Kennedy - Naomi Liddle
- Maud Kennedy - Elena Christie
- John Eastman - Jason Salmon
- Gary Malone - Simon Holland
- Assistant Director - Fiona Daffern
- Stage Manager - Siobhan Campbell
- Set Designer - Chaz Doyle
- Set Construction - Chaz Doyle, Graham Clements, Anton Krause, David Cox, Daniel Kelly, Mark Ireson, Jason Salmon, Bryon Fear, Carole Ironside, Lee Ridgeway & Simon Holland
- Set Painting - Carole Ironside
- Lighting & Sound Designer - Bob Callender
- Lighting & Sound Operator - Noah Wright
To Yvonne and Frank at the Gypsy Hill Tavern for their hospitality and allowing us to use their function room, the casts of We'll Always Have Paris and Macbeth, Matthew Lyne, Jennifer Palmer Violet and Jeanette Hoile and the teams of bar staff, box office and front of house volunteers. Also thanks to Chaz for masterminding a totally epic set brief – you are the tops – and his willing scaffolders for creating our cottage, Fiona D for organising everything, Bob for wonderful ambient seagulls, Noah for making sure we didn't have light in inappropriate places, Siobhan for wrangling the cast and Charlotte for letting us borrow Jason during Abigail's Party.
- This production is dedicated to Anna G, one of the bravest people I have ever met.
Mark Ireson Thank you to Lisa and the cast and crew of The Night Season for letting me watch their dress rehearsal last night. I don't want to give any spoilers, just to say that the choice of Mary Coughlan's "Whiskey Didn't Kill The Pain" is the ideal music to set the scene for this poignant, well characterised production. There is also plenty of sex, drugs, tobacco, Yeats and dancing. Something for everyone, then, and I can't wait to see the list on the warning notices in the foyer... What can sometimes be dismissed as "domestic dramas" are the hardest to bring to life convincingly, but Lisa is lucky to have a strong cast - Naomi Liddle, Káit Ni Fhiannaidhe, Elena Christie, Jason Salmon , Simon Holland and Natalie Barker all work together well and get a great deal from their roles, but for me the most striking performance comes from David Cox, who just gets better with every play I see him in.
Well done to you all, and not forgetting Charles G. Doyle's mammoth intricate set, Carole Ironside's detailed nicotine stained set and Bob Callender's lighting and sound design. Have a splendid week, one and all.
If you haven't booked for this little gem already, get down to the box office as soon as you can.
Ruth Huggett My kind of play on at the SLT this week - funny poignant and very sweary! Good work Lisa Thomas and your fabulous cast and crew!
Charlotte Benstead The Night Season is a scorcher of a show - brilliant piece expertly put together and performed - well done all. SLTers you need to see this production ! Book it now.
Catherine Ellis Raku-Evans Yes - what she said! It's very engaging and really funny. What a great show. Well done everyone involved. A wonderful, company piece. Thoroughly recommend.
Christine Theophilus Yes, it was a great show. And the set is brilliant, especially the, er sleeping arrangements. Great performances, and lovely accents. Oh and a lot of drinking........ Enjoy the rest of the run, chaps.
Carole Coyne Very strong performances from the whole cast. It is a gem of a play which kept the audience thoroughly engaged and chuckling. Brilliant set and excellent lighting too.
Audrey Lindsay It was fabulous in every way. Even though I was trying not to breathe in during the smoky scenes... Good luck for the rest of the run Team Night Season, its so great to be a member of a theatre company which produces work like this x
Bryon Fear Really enjoyed Night Season last night... can't recommend it enough. Strong performances in a charming, funny and moving play. Go see it if you can!
Eddie Coleman Well done to cast and crew (directors, backstage et al) for an excellent production of The Night Season. Really enjoyed it but wasn't able to stay behind to say well done to you as it finished at 22.45 and I needed to catch my train. Hope you have excellent houses for the next three nights and may your lungs forgive you for all that cigarette smoking you do ha ha. Best wishes. Eddie.
Sardines Magazine, reviewer Mark Kiely What a great production of Rebecca Lenkiewicz's 2004 play this is. I would highly recommend it to anybody. The performances are all pitch perfect. I have no idea if the cast are all Irish, but if not, their accents cannot be faulted. Every member of the cast inhabits their character quite persuasively. As Patrick, the father of the three sisters, David Cox displays a gruff, rougeish charm. As the middle sister, Rose, Naomi Liddle balances punkish attitude and genuine warmth to family and friends. And as the grandmother, Lily, Kait Feeney is remarkable in her portrayal of the physically and intellectually declining woman who sits at the centre of the piece. She takes us effortlessly from humour to searing emotional pain and back again with not the slightest hint of sentimentality. In truth, it seems unfair to pick out just three members of the cast, because all the actors bring great life to their roles.
There are strong echoes of Chekov in aspects of this staging. The interior of the Kennedy family's house is the primary setting, and when we travel to beach or pub or library, it is always framed by the darkened family home. Again we find the echoes of Chekov in the long-term frustrated romance between the eldest, most responsible sister, Judith, and Gary. The long-standing but unfulfilled romance between an older sibling and a suitor is a recurrent them in both Irish and Russian literature.
The set is very imaginatively designed, and we feel that we really are looking into the Kennedy family's Sligo home. Where this production does fall down somewhat is in some of the set changes. Lenkiewicz's script calls for numerous change of setting, no doubt perfect for the Cottesloe stage of the National where it premièred. The changes were never going to be as seamlessly achieved here, but a little bit more imagination could have helped. There are multiple additions and removal of pieces of furniture by members of the cast as the lights dim between scenes. I thought that some of these at least could be avoided. For example, the table at which the characters sit in the pub and the table in the Indian restaurant could easily remain as part of the furniture in the Kennedy's house.
Where the actors have to interact with items that are not there again could be done better at times. On the plus side, the sisters and father and grandmother sitting with eyes focussed upon a television screen located somewhere at the front of the stage works well. When Naomi Liddle closes the curtains in the cottage bedroom, however, it feels a bit forced, and she seems to be a little too focussed upon what is a minor act, as though it will somehow make it more real to the audience.
There were also a few glitches with regard to sound and timing. When one of the characters walks to the rear of the stage to play music on the old-fashioned record-player, the music actually began before she placed the needle on the record.
In truth, however, these are all minor objections, perhaps all the more irritating because they detract from what is an imaginative and well-developed production. Having already pointed out that Kait Feeney's performance as the dying matriarch avoids all sentimentality, so does the production as a whole, aside perhaps from the soundtrack which features Lili Marlene and Fred Astaire. In places where we could easily and even understandably see overt sentiment, we find instead genuine emotion. We also find conflict, but again it is tribute to the performances that at all times we can identify with what is going through all of the characters' hearts and minds even as two of them shout at each other.
Daniel Kelly Strong performances from every cast member of the Night Season last night, a true exhibit of all your talents and seriously engrossing throughout in spite of my slightly cramped posterior at the curtain fall. Set turned out alright, too... another message going on my wall reminding 'am-dram lamenters' of the quality that SLT regularly pushes out. An obvious sell-out tonight!
Suzy Jacobsen The Night Season proved yet again how much talent we are blessed with at SLT. I could see the love and effort that went into the set build, believe each and every character who walked or climbed about it, know that stage crew were in sync with cast as scenes swiftly followed on from each other and finally how all this welded itself into one seamless, deeply moving production. Last night 2moro and I urge you not to miss out on what keeps us all coming back for more!
Caroline Durant So glad I made the effort to go and watch "The Night Season" at SLT tonight: I really enjoyed the play, and it was beautifully acted by all concerned. I can highly recommend it.
Melissa Quinn I thought the [Sardines] review was nitpicking for want of anything else negative to say! It's a great play, brilliantly acted, and the irish accents are indeed very good (and I'm practiced at listening to them...). I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did Rodney, (who said similar about the accents btw). One of my highlights this season.
Helen Jones A grand night, to be sure. ( No idea what that Sardines fellow can have been on about - curtains were closed at a perfectly appropriate tempo, bordering on the perfunctory.) Poignant and engaging performances all round.
Michelle Thomson I felt the curtains were closed rather abruptly tonight, to be absolutely honest.
But the rest of the show was brilliant - really, fully enjoyed it, one of the best things I've seen at SLT in a while. Well done all round, and especially to Lisa for pulling it all together. Hope you have a great last night and party.
James Griffin I saw, I loved. Brilliant.
And perhaps the best of all:
Daisy Horwell Just thinking about last week at this time, when I was on my way to watch The Night Season, which I LOVED. Such a brilliant production, with amazing and touching, and very funny and real, performances. In fact, I found it so rib-tickling, I got home and went into labour. No I really did. I couldn't go so far as to name him after one of the characters, but I certainly won't forget where I was the night before he was born!
Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Simon Holland (Gary) has been prepared to appear in nine of the productions I have directed from a first outing as Raleigh in Journey's End (2000), Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (2001), Habeas Corpus (2002), The National Health (2003), the Edinburgh production of a grim version of Frankenstein (2004) and for SLT, Private Hurst in Serjeant Musgrave's Dance (2006), Stanley in The Birthday Party (2009), Mitia in Burnt By The Sun (2010), and Gary in The Night Season (2015).
Have there been other SLT productions of this play? Link to them here.
Or add anything that is related within this site. The author's page for instance or other plays with a similar theme.