Dancing at Lughnasa – Capitol

Every so often I see a theatre production that is so unexpectedly amazing.  Dancing at Lughnasa at the Manchester School of Theatre (MMU) was such a play.

Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel is set in rural Ireland in 1936 and examines the lives of the five Mundy sisters, through a narration by Michael, the child of one of the sisters.  The play considers the conflicting influences on the family – religion, modernisation, individuality, family, love, dancing.

From the start this is a superb piece of theatre.  The set is stunning, elaborate and effective, with great balance between the internal and external scenes.  Direction is excellent, with very effective use of the space; the story advances seamlessly and with good balance of energy and reflection.  Lighting is generally good.

The talented cast bring out the individual characters effectively; no mean feat for a young cast where the playing ages are almost all 30+.  In particular, Paddy Young (Michael) beautifully narrates the story with mixed emotions of childhood memory and adult realism; Camrie Palmer (Maggie) has strong presence as the carefree sister who diffuses all the tension, but who has hidden passions; Tilda O’Grady finds great poise as the self controlled but judgemental Kate.  But each actor is superb and contributes to an accomplished performance.  The standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

The quality of theatre produced here is consistently high, with talented actors and technical team.  One of the hidden gems of Manchester theatre.


Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

One Response to “Dancing at Lughnasa – Capitol”

  1. Andrew Wild says:

    We did this at MADS some years ago and I remember very good performances from Pete and Fran.


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