The play is set in Northern Ireland during the Ulster Workers Council Strike of 1974 in which militant loyalist workers managed to topple the power sharing executive intended to replace direct rule from London with local authority divided between Protestants and Catholics. The strike shuts factories and industries and cuts power supples. It also threatens to cut off water supplies. Violence and intimidation erupts during this testing time.

After the death of her aunt-in-law, Marian movers into the dead woman's house. While there she is joined by Lenny, her husband, whom she has been separated from for nearly two years, Peter, who is a friend of Lenny's and Ruth who has left her policeman husband because he keeps battering her. Marian is also joined by the ghost of Lily, the dead aunt.

This is a well written play by Parker that is very captivating as you become engrossed in the story. Eleanor Methven puts in a fine performance as 'Marian' and so too does Michele Forbes as 'Lily'. The set is a living room which looks like it is in the fifties, not the seventies , but it did feel cosy in the small Donmar theatre.

At about two hours in length, I thought the story was a little too long. It lost a bit of its impetus after the interval. Nevertheless it is a play well worth seeing.

(Darren Dalglish)

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