Long Day's JourneyInto Night

By John Nathan, April 19, 2012

Apollo Theatre, London W1

I can hardly bear this brilliant play. Eugene O'Neill drew on his own family for this, his most famous and harrowing work, written in 1941, though first performed posthumously 15 years later. American actor Laurie Metcalf is so disturbingly ghostly as the morphine-addled matriarch, at one point she appears to be practically transparent. Opposite Metcalf is David Suchet as her Irish-born actor husband Tyrone – opposite, that is, in every meaning of the word. A physically and vocally powerful presence next to Metcalf's fragile and fading wife, Suchet segues into "oirish" blarney from the old country and then back to full-bloodied American with remarkable control.

Director Anthony Page's flawless, if less-than inspired production is all about superb acting, not least by Kyle Soller as Tyrone's seriously ill youngest son Edmund. It is a performance that belongs to a much more modern play, but it is delivered with such wit and vulnerability that you cannot take your eyes of him. (www.apollotheatrelondon.co.uk)

Last updated: 4:42pm, April 19 2012