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Sublime Revival of Brian Friel’s Stage Masterpiece



Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre has a 125-year history presenting groundbreaking theatrical productions. In recent memory, they’ve included the hilarious Noises Off, the frankly terrifying Ghost Stories, seasonal pantomimes – and now this spring’s commanding ‘Faith Healer’.


Directed by the theatre’s current Artistic Director Rachel O ‘Riordan, and written by Irish dramatist Brian Friel, it comprises four monologues delivered by three actors.


Quite simply, at a time when many of the UK’s entertainment venues play host to vehicles for soap stars or loosely strung-together pop tune productions, ‘Faith Healer’ restores your belief that provocative, stimulating theatre is alive and well.


Declan Conlon is Frank, the Faith Healer of the title (pictured above) – who, as the Lyric’s audio description outlines, might be more showman than shaman. Justine Mitchell is Grace, his wife/mistress and Nick Holder is Teddy, Frank’s manager/roadie/enabler.


Each tells the story of their travels, focusing on two particular venues, showing how different lenses produce different experiences, memories and reactions to the same events. The audience must work hard to link their narratives, to compare and contrast, to infer from what is implied.


But the actors work harder – each of them absolutely exemplary in their characterisation and delivery of their part of the story, demonstrating breadth and depth of talent.


Thanks to O’Riordan’s direction, feels as modern today as when it was written in the 1970s.


The strength of the script, full of descriptive might, means ‘Faith Healer’ is perfect theatre. The pared-back stage and monologue structure means there are not multiple distractions for neurodiverse visitors. Visually impaired theatre-goers will be able to enjoy the articulate auditory performances.


Visitors with mobility issues can easily access the building, use easy to find lifts and toilet facilities and access the fantastic café, bar area and roof garden, staffed by friendly staff who really go above and beyond to make your visit a great one.


The Lyric, like many theatres nowadays, needs public support to keep bringing great productions to the public - £800k a year in their case.


The theatre staff is working hard to ensure their 2024 programme is as accessible as possible to all our readers. If you love innovative theatre, make this the year you visit the Lyric.


Faith Healer runs until April 13 and there will be a BSL performance on April 11 at 7.30pm. To book and for full access details go to https://lyric.co.uk/our-home/your-visit/access/

 

 

  

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