image1-300x200Photo: Carol Rosegg


by: JK Clarke


Anyone can recognize the small country pub of The Weir whether they have been a regular anywhere from a similar small town pub or a divey cellar bar on East 14th Street in Manhattan. The Weir is the story of a group of bar regulars who are so caught up in their usual blather that they can dismiss a fight with “you’re  not buying me a drink I’m buying you a drink.” And it is the story of how one stranger in their midst can bring out their humanity and depth of feeling. A group of people who, because they frequent the same place for the same purposes, love each other and respect each other but don’t necessarily like each other all the time. It’s sort of like an extended family where the common gene is alcohol and a need to gather.   


In this terrific production directed by Ciaran O’Reilly, one feels as if they’re sitting right in the pub (Charlie Corcoran’s terrific set), at a booth perhaps, drinking with regulars and watching the goings-on. There is no exaggerated drunkenness. The characters become steadily unsteady but not in any major way, as is the case with regular drinkers.


There is not a weak spot in the entire cast. Barflies Jack (Dan Butler), Finbar (Sean Gormley) and Jim (John Keating) are regular folk, more complicated than meet the eye, who like a drink. Barman Brendan (Billy Carter) is the affable man you want pouring your drink and looking after you. And Tissa Klein’s meek yet passively powerful Valerie is the sympathetic interloper who brings out the extraordinary in this very ordinary setting. The production is so authentic that were it not for other audience members within one’s sight line, one would be convinced they’d just spent an evening eavesdropping on some rather profound moments in a pub.


    The only down side to the production, at the performance I attended, was an interruption by some knucklehead’s cell phone going off at one of the most pivotal points in the play. Not once, but again several minutes later! Accidents happen, to be sure, and we can distractedly forget to silence our phones. But twice is inexcusable. If you don’t understand your phone well enough to shut it off a) while it’s ringing and b) to prevent its happening again, then you have no business bringing a phone into a theater. You should leave it at the coat check or, perhaps, at home. Furthermore, maybe its time theaters institute a policy wherein if your phone interrupts the play twice, then you are required to reimburse any audience member whose theater experience was ruined by your ineptitude. The actors handled it professionally, of course, but for many in the audience their focus, and thus the play, was disrupted. Shame on you, inconsiderate, bumbling cell phone user! Shame on you. Cast and crew of The Weir: Bravo.



The Weir. At the Irish Repertory Theater, 132 W. 22nd Street, NY, through through August 4.