sat 28/03/2020

Men Should Weep, National Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Men Should Weep, National Theatre

Men Should Weep, National Theatre

A woman's work is never done in Josie Rourke's superb revival

Home's where the heart is for Maggie Morrison (Sharon Small)Manuel Harlan

“It seems to me there’s nae end tae trouble. Nae end tae havin’ the heart torn out of you.” That’s the gut-wrenching cry of despair voiced by Maggie Morrison, the worn-down woman who is herself the heart of Ena Lamont Stewart’s vivid, sprawling 1947 drama. The piece was voted one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century in the National Theatre’s millennium poll; yet, aside from a landmark revival by Scottish company 7:84 back in 1982, it’s rarely been seen. Now young director Josie Rourke, who currently helms the Bush Theatre in west London, seizes upon the work for her South Bank debut. The results are nothing short of sensational.

“It seems to me there’s nae end tae trouble. Nae end tae havin’ the heart torn out of you.” That’s the gut-wrenching cry of despair voiced by Maggie Morrison, the worn-down woman who is herself the heart of Ena Lamont Stewart’s vivid, sprawling 1947 drama. The piece was voted one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century in the National Theatre’s millennium poll; yet, aside from a landmark revival by Scottish company 7:84 back in 1982, it’s rarely been seen. Now young director Josie Rourke, who currently helms the Bush Theatre in west London, seizes upon the work for her South Bank debut. The results are nothing short of sensational.

These grim domiciles teem with life; we never see the rats that are mentioned, but it's not hard to believe in them

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I went to see this play last night and was absolutely bowled over not only by the power and intensity of the acting, but also by the quality of delivery of the humour. Although being English myself I have lived in Glasgow for many years so was able to get not only the straight gags but also the rich humour which comes through the use of the Glagow dialect itself. It is the lack of opportunity that is the underlying theme of the play but it is the absolute defiance to give up hope that burns throughout. London should take this production to their hearts. When this goes to Glasgow , which it surely must, it will be a riot!

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