Belfast Telegraph

Can we really believe in Frank?

By Grania McFadden

Millennium Forum, Londonderry, Monday & Tuesday, October 10-11, 8pm

Lalor Roddy takes the title role in Brian Friel’s intense three-hander in this touring production from Town Hall Theatre in Galway. And art reflects life, as Frank travels with with his two companions, touring Scotland and Wales in a battered van, pulling up to old church halls to heal the sick.

Belfast actress Ali White — daughter of former Belfast Telegraph columnist Barry White and sister of local rock musican Andy White — joins Roddy alongside Ron Goodall in what promises to be a mesmerising production.

The lame, the ill and the broken-hearted gather for the Fantastic Francis Hardy: Faith Healer. But who is he? And can he really perform miracles? What sort of a price must those he saves be prepared to pay? And what does it mean to have faith?

The play is made up of four monologues, which tell us the story of the faith healer himself — one from Frank, another from his Cockney manager Teddy, and the third from Frank’s Yorkshire-born wife, Grace.

These are unreliable narrators, and they all tell the same story from a different perspective — Friel invites us to decide in which we should have faith.

As we’re drawn into the world of Frank and his fellow travellers, this unshowy play guides us towards a magisterial climax.

Friel rewards our faith in him as one of the greatest living playwrights on the planet in a piece of writing that’s a triumph of story-telling. If you don’t manage to catch it here, fear not, as the show will visit the Lyric Theatre in Belfast next month.

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