(seen at the Old Vic Theatre at afternoon performance on 5th August 2017).
Some actors have now left the cast.
This is one of the strongest casts currently in the West End. The never truly
recognised Ron Cook (Dr Walker) proves his character talents once more as
narrator. Bronagh Gallagher (Mrs Burke) is spell-binding as an emotionally
distressed wife - and simply glorious when given the chance to sing. Shirley
Henderson (Elizabeth Laine) makes a fine adopted daughter, Jack Shalloo (Elias
Burke) a fine child/man son.
Conor McPherson has created vivid characters that his sound direction brings to
life on a clever Rae Smith designed stage. Bob Dylan writes a complex,
intelligent lyric too.
Sadly, melding play with music results in a mess.
The play itself is a mere trifle. Nothing plot-wise that hasn't been said and
done a thousand times before, often with far greater pace and effect. This is
due to the words regularly grinding to a halt for another dose of droning music.
Mostly sounding the same after a while, even worse, the lyrics bear no relevance
to anything that has just happened nor is to come.
Dylan fans will probably enjoy hearing some rarities. Those who, like the
monkey, are uninformed about his work, will simply wonder precisely why anyone
thought it a good idea to stage it as anything other than a standard "Jukebox
A woeful misjudgement in structure, an even less than imaginative story. The
only saving grace is the performances - this talented troupe deserve far better.
For Dylan fans only, is the monkey verdict.