Review: The Weir - English Touring Theatre - at Minerva Theatre, Chichester

Review. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150912-143636001
Review. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150912-143636001

If you needed reminding why so many of the traditional ‘spit and sawdust’ pubs have closed, The Weir kindly obliges.

Set in a rural Irish bar, it was the final retreat for a handful of working men.

There they would gather over a pint in a spirit of camaraderie which often masked biting loneliness and disillusion.

The arrival on one night of a woman - and a sophisticated and articulate one at that - turned their world upside down.

The sexism was neither blunt nor caricatured. Rather it was impregnated into the pub’s fabric. The only bottle of wine belonged to the landlord himself and had to be fetched from his private rooms. The ladies’ lav didn’t work. Why would it be repaired when there was no call for it?

This is a play with little plot and even less point.

It captures perfectly the reasons why many would prefer to spend their evenings anywhere else but.

Yet for all that, don’t write The Weir off.

It is a showcase for Irish storytelling and it weaves its way between the supernatural and the sharp surprise of personal tragedy.

There is a charm, a warmth, a real resonance here too which leaves you wondering what happened next - long after this snapshot of life leaves the stage.