BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2004We've left it here for reference.More information

28 August 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
LiverpoolLiverpool

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Liverpool
Things to do
People & Places
Nature
History
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Liverpool

Lancashire
Manchester
North East Wales
Stoke

Related BBC Sites

England
 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

19th February 2004
The Quare Fellow @ Playhouse
Actors
The Quare Fellow.

The Quare Fellow @ Liverpool Playhouse.

Review by: Claire Hamilton.

SEE ALSO
More Stage
WEB LINKS
Playhouse Site
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.
PRINT THIS PAGE
View a printable version of this page.
get in contact

It's not exactly an attractive premise - a play about the Irish equivalent of death row in the 1950s; tough criminals awaiting their fate in an Irish gaol, back when capital punishment was still the done thing. A barrel of laughs, then? Well yes, actually. The large, impressive cast created an atmosphere of rough camaraderie, making the audience laugh out loud at gruesome murder, and the finer points of hanging a 12 stone man. It's amazing what people find funny, but then it's also amazing that the death penalty was only completely abolished in Ireland in 1990.

Behan's play, though written in 1954 has stood the test of time. The questions of religion, rehabilitation and the more stomach-churning aspects of the death penalty must still be discussed in many American states today, by staff who may not want to earn their living this way, but have to none the less.

The wretchedness of a prison warden whose morality is clearly at odds with his job is movingly portrayed by Sean Campion, delivering probably the most outstanding performance of this very strong cast. The grim aspects of prison life are all graphically portrayed here as well (the first thing the audience sees when the curtain rises is the prisoners 'slopping out'). The final scene is about as black as humour can get, and finds prisoners and audience alike pondering their own mortality and whether there really is ever a situation when killing another human being is acceptable - whatever crime they've committed.

According to the programme, Director Kathy Burke (yes THAT Kathy Burke) has given up acting for good to concentrate on directing. Judging by this powerful production, Harry Enfield's loss is the theatre-goers gain.

line
Top | Stage Index | Home
fun stuff
ARTS & CULTURE
Architecture Week
Waterfront Weekend
Red and Blue Heroes

film
MESSAGE BOARDS
Capital Of Culture
Football
Quiggins

sport
CONTACT US
BBC Liverpool
P.O Box 95.8
Liverpool
L69 1ZJ
(+44) 0151 708 5500
liverpool@bbc.co.uk



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy