note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey
The New Repertory Theatre's production of "The Weir" is pure theatrical magic. Simple as that. Conor McPherson's award winning play gets a delightful, electric outing in Newton, and will continue, co-produced by The Orpheum Foxboro, after it finishes its run at The New Rep.
Rick Lombardo's lighter than air direction whisks the play so quickly to its redemptive conclusion you wish it could last longer. Four irascible scallawags trade yarns and barbs to entertain each other --- and to impress the handsome woman who has just moved into town. While the charming bartender debates with himself to join the tipplers drink for drink (he does, of course) three good old Irish boys relate eerie happenings and cautionary tales about secret underground fairy roads and unregenerate ghosts.
Colin Hamell is the endearing aw-shucks barkeep, Harry Press the posturing, toothy-grinned business man who left town to make his fortune, Dee Nelson the elegant but enigmatic newcomer, Billy Meleady the impish town wag and Richard McElvain the ringmaster of this four man circus. McElvain gives the showiest performance --- inhaling the beginning of a sentence, exhaling the rest like a bar of music --- but everyone performs at the top of their game. And what fun we have watching that game play out.
Daniel Meeker's fine, soft Irish light bathes Richard Chambers' intimate bar set in warm pinks and yellows. Eileen Bouvier's authentic garb for each character sets exactly the right tone --- especially a slightly too tight suit with its too short vest for McElvain to tug on to make himself more presentable for the lady visitor.