facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

Philadelphia, Here I Come!

First Published 1 August 2012, Last Updated 1 August 2012

As her acclaimed production of Laura Wade’s Posh comes to the end of its run in the West End, Lyndsey Turner makes her Donmar directorial debut with a measured revival of Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come!

In the fictional Irish town of Ballybeg, Gar O’Donnell is fed up of his monotonous existence and yearns for a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. But before he sets off on this life-changing journey, he must say goodbye to the people he is leaving behind.

Though perhaps more important is Gar’s need to earn love – or even a small glimmer of recognition – from his distant, cold-hearted father who seems reluctant and uninterested in saying his own farewell.

Set in the home Gar shares with his father and loyal housekeeper Madge, Friel’s play is somewhat devoid of action. But what Turner’s production lacks in fast-paced drama, it makes up for in the deep complexities of its characters, intricately displaying the moods and feelings that are contained within Rob Howell’s imposing architectural set.

None more than Gar himself. So complex are the feelings pent up within the 25-year-old Irishman that two actors are needed to portray them, divided as he is into public and private versions of his personality. Paul Reid takes on the role of the former as the unsettled and reserved Gar who, though visible to all those around him, keeps his feelings in check, while Rory Keenan’s presence is an ethereal one, portraying the true voices niggling away in the young man’s troubled head.

Witty, flirtatious, sarcastic, insulting, aggressive and melodiously mirthful, Keenan metamorphoses his character into a myriad of emotions, radically flitting from frightening to hilarious, while that same element of surprise can also be seen in Valerie Lilley’s performance as the slightly stooping Madge who, from nowhere, propels flashes of sharp wit into an otherwise delicate portrayal of a woman who deserves so much more respect than she’s given credit for.

With more lights than a runway landing strip and shelves stacked as high as the ceiling, Howell’s impressive set reflects the towering ambitions and bright future that Gar sees before him. But though his outlook is positive, following a dramatic denouement created by light and sound team Tim Lutkin and Christopher Shutt, the audience is left wondering whether the Irishman’s life abroad will bring him any more happiness.


Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.