OVO give 100 per cent in The Weir at St Albans’ Maltings Theatre

IRISH plays are demanding of their performers if they are not from the Emerald Isle themselves.

So all credit OVO theatre company in their new home at the Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans, for the consistency of the cast in retaining Irish accents throughout their performance of Conor McPherson’s The Weir.

Purists will probably say that they were not correct for the West Coast of Ireland where the play is set but they were good enough for me.

The Weir is 100 per cent Irish with its focus on a group of men whose lives are intertwined as they so often are in Celtic communities.

The arrival of a woman from outside their immediate community is the catalyst for the telling of supernatural stories which may – or may not – have happened to the men but are all bound up with Irish folklore.

The Weir has won numerous awards and yet it is a play lacking in any action to speak off. It is down to the skill of the director and the actors to bring it to life and OVO does not disappoint.

Played out on an atmospheric set where the only slightly jarring note was the noise of the weir itself – at least I think it was the weir although it might have been wind blowing – the audience feels it is listening in on the conversations of Brendan, played by Will Franklin, Jack, Peter Wood, and Jim, Edmund White.

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It is the arrival of Oscar Blend’s Finbar with the interloper Valerie, played by Anna Franklin, which changes the dynamic of the play.

And without doubt it is the telling of the supernatural stories which is the high spot – you could hear a pin drop as the characters recount their tales, so intense was the audience concentration.

But it is the final tale told by Valerie which is the most moving – and most believable – although as Anna’s voice dips at the most emotional moments, it was a bit hard to hear at the back of the theatre.

Director Jo Emery has assembled a first-class cast for The Weir and it would be unfair to single any one person out because they all give 100 per cent to their roles.

But those who missed it first time have another chance to catch it when The Weir is performed from next Tuesday, November 2, until Saturday, November 5, at the theatre on the second floor of the Maltings shopping centre. Tickets at �12.50/�7.50 are available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/ovo


n An adaptation of the classic tale The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith can be seen at the Maltings Arts Theatre tomorrow and Saturday evening, October 28 and 29.

Looking After The Pooters is being performed by Endpaper Theatre and tells the story of Charles Pooter from the viewpoint of his housemaid Sarah.

Tickets are available in person from the St Albans Tourist and Information Centre or online at the website above.