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