“Long Day’s Journey Into Night” shines with Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville at The Wallis

The Wallis Presents LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT starring Jeremy Irons (Photo Credit: Lawrence K. Ho)

Brilliant actors need brilliantly written roles to shine in the spotlight. Thus seeing Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) and Olivier Award-winner Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) in Eugene O’Neil’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is an excellent example of how great performances can elevate great literature and leave audiences basking in the afterglow.

O’Neill’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterpiece is at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, in Beverly Hills, California, from June 8 through Sunday, July 1. It is director Sir Richard Eyre’s acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production, and also features exceptional performances by Matthew Beard, Rory Keenan and Jessica Regan.

They all join together to journey through one long and fateful summer’s day in the life of the Tyrone family—James and Mary (Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville), and their two sons. The one who is the greatest disappointment to his father is James Tyrone, Jr. (Rory Keenan). Edmund (Matthew Beard), the sickly son, is a young man who is his mother’s favorite. They all love one another in their own peculiar way—but resent each other as well. And each is haunted by the past and scared to face the truth about their own inner demons which cause their lives to unravel.

There are humorous moments throughout, the most giggles come thanks to the brief but sparkling performance by Jessica Regan as the Irish maid Cathleen. But make no mistake that this is a fierce drama set in the early 1900s and it takes on the personal pain of family dysfunction, alcoholism, and drug addiction. The latter having a very relevant parallel to today’s opioid crisis. Another contemporary theme is that both sons have come back home and are living off of their father and mother, which becomes fuel for everyone’s frustrations.

The Bristol Old Vic’s award-winning production of Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterpiece, LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT led by director Sir Richard Eyre and starring Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville. (Photo Credit: Lawrence K. Ho)

A lifetime of emotions explodes through Irons impeccable performance. Equal to the task of playing opposite such a leading man is Manville who mesmerizes with her sweetness and sadness as she goes through all her wild mood swings. Both make The Wallis’ presentation of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” the finest productions of what has been called one of the greatest American plays of the 20th century. It would make playwright Eugene O’Neill raise a glass of whiskey and smile approvingly.

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Go to www.TheWallis.org.
The Wallis also has a great lineup for the summer season, continuing Artistic Director Paul Crewes’ mission to bring great art and artists to the wonderful Beverly Hills theater. For an up-to-date schedule of upcoming shows and events visit www.TheWallis.org.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.