EERIE RAIL TALE IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK
A gloomy railway cutting leading to an ominous tunnel, described as having a ‘barbarous, depressing and forbidding’ air is the setting for the Charles Dickens short story, The
Signalman (New Theatre, until December 15). Considering the restricted stage space, this excellent production, designed by Lisa Krugel, does a great job of capturing the eerie atmosphere. A curious visitor descends into the cutting to talk to the lonely signalman on duty, who is haunted by a spectre that appears to be a harbinger of evil. Jane McCarthy, who adapted this for the stage, has given the visitor a stronger motivation for his visits, that adds dramatic strength to the original. It’s a story that needs a brooding air, and under Matthew Ralli’s direction, Marcus Lamb and Daniel Reardon combine beautifully to provide contrasting reactions to a menacing situation.
Irish National Opera Company’s production of Verdi’s Aida showed comprehensively that it can handle grand opera in the grandest style. Director Michael BarkerCaven’s production was superb, beautifully mounted, and brought out all the majesty in the score. On the night I attended, the two indisposed lead singers, Orla Boylan and Gwyn Hughes Jones were replaced by soprano Monica Zanettin and tenor Stefano La Colla. Zanettin performed as if the role had been written specially for her and La Colla was totally convincing as Radamès. Imelda Drumm came into her own in the fourth act as Amneris.
gloom: Marcus Lambe and Daniel Reardon