Tuesday, April 23

Cyprus Avenue – Glasgow Pavilion

Eric’s greatest fear is losing his identity as an Ulster Unionist. The world has changed since his youth during the Troubles, but he can’t move on. When Eric (David Hayman) suffers a mental health crisis, this fear affects his whole family.

Eric is convinced that his newborn granddaughter is, in fact, the former Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams. No, she doesn’t have a beard, but apart from that, she looks just like him. However, nobody else can see the resemblance.

Eric holds some unpalatable views. His sectarian statements and language are shocking, bringing gasps of horror from the audience. Glaswegians are familiar with sectarianism. The play is also very funny.

Every performance in this play was superb, and Hayman is extraordinary. This character says and does awful things, but he is still a frail human being. Hayman is on stage throughout the play and shows remarkable focus and stamina.

The supporting characters are well written, each with their own complexities. Psychologist Bridget (Jamie Marie Leary) is determined to help Eric to open up about his experience. Daughter Julie (Sinead Sharkey) loves her dad, but she also needs to protect her baby. Eric’s wife Bernie (Ann Louise Ross) has suffered his nonsense for long enough.

Eric’s psychosis is informed by his cultural background. Balaclava-clad terrorist Slim (James Boal) appears from nowhere and waves a gun around frantically while talking like a crazy person. This seems improbable except that, in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, this kind of thing happened all the time.

The set is simple, with minimalist grey furniture. Lighting is used to suggest changes of location and time of day. The focus is on the amazing performances and on the story.

This play makes for uncomfortable viewing, but it is also a masterpiece. Well worth seeing.

Playing until 2nd March, https://www.paviliontheatre.co.uk/shows/cyprus-avenue/

Reviewer: Wendy McEwan

Reviewed: 27th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.