, , , , , ,

I really wish I could see this! 

Conor McPherson is again directing his play, but this time with a very different Tommy. In the poster, Adrian Dunbar looks well groomed and prosperous compared to Ciarán Hinds’ scruffy, earthy Tommy in the original Donmar production. Even Doc and Aimee look stylish.


Look at his fancy overcoat!

In the production shots, Dunbar’s Tommy is a bit less soigné, but he still doesn’t rise (sink?) to Ciarán Hinds’ magnificent level of ungrooming. Where’s the stubble and the mustache? Why does he look like he just had a haircut?


Nice try. The hoodie is ugly but it just can’t compare…


…with THIS Tommy in his Gaelic football shirt! Original cast photos by Helen Warner.

The Night Alive - Atlantic Theater Company - Photo Credit: Helen Warner

Tommy’s new shoes. Adrian Dunbar must also appear in his undershorts, but I couldn’t find a matching photo for comparative purposes.

Tommy and Aimee have a romantic whirl across the floor in the Marvin Gaye scene. 


Kate Stanley Brennan as Aimee with Adrian Dunbar and Laurence Kinlan.

The original also had a moment where Tommy and Aimee danced. It was a sweet but all too brief, as evanescent as Tommy’s hopes.


Aimee, Doc and Tommy get it on to Marvin Gaye in the Donmar production. Tommy has his shirt tucked in… for once.

In short, all the new cast members are more conventionally attractive than the originals. I think this must change the chemistry somehow. It’s hard to imagine a man as handsome as Adrian Dunbar in the role of Tommy, because in spite of his loser-dom, he’d have a much better chance with women than Ciarán Hinds’ Tommy would. That was the great thing about CH’s Tommy, that he had nothing to recommend him but his kindness, a humane quality that ultimately makes him a romantic figure… against all odds.

Of course we fans saw through Tommy’s “unattractiveness” (Mr. H. does clean up rather well) but his unconventional, unfashionable looks (complete with long greasy hair, 70’s style mustache, abundant stubble, and well-worn old clothes) fit the character perfectly. The finest article of clothing Tommy owns is a leather jacket–which he tries to give away to Aimee.


Caoilfhionn Dunne played Aimee in the original.

In the new version, Ian Lloyd-Anderson has the role of the deeply disturbed, hammer-wielding Kenneth (Brian Gleeson in the original). I saw Ian in Mark O’Rowe’s Our Few And Evil Days, where he looked quite menacing but still had his ass kicked by Ciarán Hinds in the role of violent patriarch Michael.


Ian Lloyd Anderson. Click for source.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 7.22.23 AM

Ian Lloyd Anderson as Kenneth and Laurence Kinlan as Doc.


Compare the gloriously ugly sweater Doc (Michael McElhatton) wears in the original!


Doc, Tommy, and Uncle Maurice (Jim Norton). Maurice is the best-dressed character, with the possible exception of the villainous Kenneth. Tommy wears the symbolic leather jacket.

The premiere production of The Night Alive played at the Donmar Warehouse, (June-July 2013) and transferred to the Atlantic Theater (Dec 2013-Feb 2014).

The new version (also directed by Conor McPherson) debuted in the Gaiety Theatre at the Dublin Theatre Festival (Sep 2015) and transferred to the Lyric Theatre, Belfast (Oct 2015).