Library Theatre: cultural highlight of 2005

I’m not into reviews of the year; I find all that filler boring. But then my ‘diary of sorts’ is supposed to help me remember all the ‘stuff I’ve seen, stuff I’ve heard and stuff I’ve read’. This year I’ve failed in that task as missing from the diary is the cultural highlight that was the Library Theatre’s production of Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa. I was transfixed by this sentimental and nostalgic portrait of a 1930s Donegal family. They live a gentle way of life assured by a great many certainties and held together by a formidable matriarch whose own strength comes from her unswayable faith in god and tradition. All is about to be destroyed by the late arrival of the industrial revolution and the time we witness on the stage is to turn out to be the most golden of golden ages (even if it is marked by poverty and sacrifice).

We effectively changed horses part way through the year, failing to renew our season tickets for the Royal Exchange, which remains the country’s most interesting theatre space, to make way for the Library Theatre. The Library’s a wonderful venue too and the their production of Arthur Miller’s the Price was faultless. The programme at the Library is just a little more gritty than that of the Royal Exchange and that seems to suit us somehow.

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