FAITH HEALER by Brian Friel
Directed by Peter Kavanagh
Listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnwj
A magisterial study of the torments of creative genius and the healing power of love. In one of the great classic plays in the modern Irish canon, a faith healer returns to his native Ireland to a potentially terrible fate. When fortune smiles, Frances Hardy's gifts are prodigious. Otherwise his devoted wife, Grace, can only watch on as he wages a drunken 'feud between himself and his talent'. Grace has given up a privileged background and a career in law to join Frank and his engaging wide-boy manager Teddy, touring remote corners of Scotland and Wales in a battered van. But now Frank senses that a return to his native land may be the only way to restore his waning powers. And so the fateful crossing is made, in a homecoming that will change the lives of all three forever.
The play, now considered a modern masterpiece and a formative influence on subsequent Irish writing (its monologue structure prefigures Conor Mc Pherson's The Weir, and Port Authority among other) ran to only twenty performances in New York in 1979. It was with the 1994 production and Donal Mc Cann as the eponymous healer – alongside Judy Geeson and Ron Cook – that the play truly made its mark on Broadway, Dublin, and London West End audiences, and worldwide. A recent production originating at the Gate Theatre with Ralph Fiennes in the role won Ian Mc Diarmid a Tony for best supporting actor.
This new production for radio features Owen Roe, who performed the title role in Dublin and Edinburgh last year. Newcomers to the play are Lia Williams as Grace and Phil Daniels as Teddy.
PHIL DANIELS became famous at a young age with the cult film Quadrophenia, subsequently with Blur in their single Parklife and lately has been television detective DCS Frank Paterson and Inspector Hardcastle in 'Poirot 'The Clocks' and is familiar as a regular in Eastenders.
LIA WILLIAMS, apart from many television and film roles, has appeared on the West End in numerous plays, including David Mamet's Oleanna directed by Harold Pinter, King Lear and As You Like It with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Eccentricities Of A Nightingale, and Mappa Mundi at the Royal National Theatre.
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