Theatre: Intimate Friel conjures the magic and absurdity of performance

A poignantly-timed revival of Faith Healer at the Abbey reminds us that there’s little quite as powerful and vulnerable as storytelling and a live audience

Aidan Gillen as Frank Hardy in Brian Friel’s Faith Healer on the Abbey stage, directed by Joe Dowling. Picture: Ros Kavanagh

Faith Healer

Abbey Theatre

Until January 22

Never has the art of live performance felt more precarious, more miraculous, than in the present moment, as theatres struggle to stay open in the face of ongoing Covid challenges.

Just days before this long-awaited production of Faith Healer – which was due to premiere in March 2020 just as the pandemic struck – the government ordered that theatres should pull back audience numbers to 50 per cent. ...