A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Faith Healer

Faith Healer
3 April 2024
Lyric Hammersmith
3.0 out of 5.0 stars

Faith Healer, the 1979 classic by Brian Friel, recently had a revival at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre. Running mid-March to mid- April, the play surrounding fractured memories from a life of travelling through Scotland and Wales to perform miracle cures hit the small theatre in West London.

The Fantastic Frank Hardy, faith healer by own proclamation, starts the show off by retelling his version of his life’s story, the fate of his wife Grace and his manager Teddy. His grand exposition of his exploits focusses on his own sense of grandeur, his extreme self-absorption, finding the fault in everyone but himself. While he is a charming showman, his recollection leaves the audience with many questions as to the veracity of Frank’s supposed exploits.

In the second act, Grace and Teddy get their chance to discuss their side of the story, their memories being vastly different from Frank’s and each other’s. With many traumatic and devastating turns in the story, it is not an easy one to listen to.

The production is very slow to come to a point and seems a little lost on the stage, seemingly being more suited to a smaller, more intimate environment. The rambling speeches seem to go on forever, and while the juxtaposition of opposing memories of a narcissist, an enabler, and a woman under the spell of a manipulative partner is quite interesting, the drawn-out nature of the performance unnecessarily dragged things out.

With a cut of at least a half hour of material and a smaller venue, this could have been a good show. But as it stands, the lifeless and dull retelling of the story didn’t quite make the cut.

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