Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 27 January 2015

The Bell Jar rings true still in harrowing show

CELEBRATING the 50th anniversary of the publication of Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar, opening night saw a partisan crowd revel in some professional-level performances and Plath's timeless prose.

The acting was exceptional in this amateur production by Green Room, particularly Louise Parker, who mesmerisingly inhabited Esther Greenwood's pallid skin.

The role of the central character -- an aspirant writer who spirals into depression -- is a challenge for anyone, but Parker pulled it off, delivering her many lines flawlessly in an equally flawless Dixie accent.

Any time Esther's verbal barbs verged on the exhausting, support from Mary Lindsay, Conor Maguire, Mary-Frances Loughran or Aaron Hickland offered some respite.

Plath's dark wit remains capable of extracting a laugh from an audience, even as the play entered ever more disturbing territory.

The most arresting moments remain in the treatment of mental illness, suicide and sexual assault.

After The Bell Jar doesn't flinch from slashed wrists or electric shocks, or indeed the attempted rape of Esther by Maguire's Marco.

These harrowing scenes made for uncomfortable viewing, but writer James Johnson and director Patsy Hughes balanced the tone.

Not an easy watch, but After The Bell Jar should engage hardened fans of Plath and newcomers alike.


COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


Saving your money is strongly advised. Being able to pay cash for a luxury item will make your confidence soar. You're tired of lying awake at night, worrying about the bills. There's no reason you have to live beyond your means. You can have what you want without damaging your financial security. Are you looking for work? You could find a terrific job involving property, gourmet food or art. Emphasise your cutting edge sensibilities during a job interview.More