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The fantastic reviews for the National Theatre's Dancing At Lughnasa continue to appear online, with some wonderfully kind words about Tom Riley as Gerry. 

Riley’s Chaplin-esque Gerry is delightfully foolish, yet layered with depth and subtle sadness as he repeatedly fails to fulfil his familial obligations and secure a successful career. The Upcoming

Possibly, Chris is the most uninteresting of the sisters. She’s still in love with Michael’s Welsh father, but wise enough to understand that for all his jolly charm and gentle buffoonery that he’s not the marrying kind and that, in spite of his best intentions, he’d leave her. Alison Oliver’s Chris is surprisingly carefree with a sense of spirit far removed from the way that unmarried mothers were meant to behave in Ireland at that time. As Michael’s father, Tom Riley is more posh schoolboy than Welsh loafer, scrabbling around to make a living, but it’s easy to see why Chris likes him and why Agnes harbours a secret passion for him. Reviews Hub

Completing the set of on-stage characters is Gerry Evans (Tom Riley), apparently from Wales but who speaks with a southern English accent, an affable man but one who doesn’t stay in the same job for very long. Well-travelled, he returns periodically to see his son Michael, which is honourable enough, although some later revelations about him effectively destroy any semblance of sympathy one otherwise might have had for him by the end of the show. London Theatre 1

Rourke’s production captures the feisty dynamics between the Mundys and the sense the kitchen is the nucleus into which gossip from the outside world is filtered and dissected. Mitchell brings an appropriate frostiness to Kate, who’s fearful of the outside world and preoccupied with the family’s reputation within it. Oliver captures Chris’s lovelorn weakness in the company of Gerry (a rascally Tom Riley), while McSweeney – a natural comic – prevents the story getting too heavy as the riddle-loving Maggie, leaning into her character’s yearning to perform through little bows and trots. Agnes and Father Jack, the family’s two dark horses who are smiley but secretive, are trickier parts to land, but Harland and O'Hanlon do decent jobs respectively. Culture Whisper

"When I remember it, I think of it as dancing." With those words, a man called Michael looks back on one summer in his childhood, growing up amidst a family of five sisters in rural County Donegal, in poverty, shame and isolation, but surrounded by love. They come at the close of Brian Friel's magnificent memory play Dancing at Lughnasa, first seen at the National Theatre in its original Abbey Theatre production in 1990, and now revived with shining care by director Josie O'Rourke and a glorious cast including Siobhán McSweeney (of Derry Girls fame) and Ardal O'Hanlon, best known for Father Ted. It is a glory, full of emotion and power. What's On Stage

As it is, occupying the National’s Olivier Theatre and making full use of the stage’s grand space and budget, this latest interpretation pulls out all the stops to glorious effect. The result is almost achingly beautiful, dripping with melancholy, and wonderfully, joyously funny. Why Now

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