There’s not much holiday cheer in ‘The Night Alive’
San Jose Stage Company calls contemporary Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s “The Night Alive” a kind of nativity story, but it’s hard to find many parallels with the Bible story.
Nevertheless, as the cast talked with audience members after the reviewed performance, one actor said the play is about hope, which is part of the nativity story.
The play is set in an extremely cluttered downstairs apartment in Dublin occupied by down-on-his-luck Tommy (Randall King), courtesy of his cranky uncle, Maurice (Julian López-Morillas), who lives upstairs. Tommy is often joined by his amiable but not-too-bright friend Doc (Lawrence Radecker), who helps him in the odd jobs they manage to find.
One night Tommy returns home assisting Aimee (Allison F. Rich), a stranger whom he found badly beaten by her boyfriend. She winds up staying and becoming friends with Tommy and Doc.
Things change when Aimee’s boyfriend, the menacing Kenneth (Jonathan Rhys Williams), unexpectedly barges in when Doc is there alone. Bloody violence erupts.
As time passes, Aimee has left for parts unknown, but she returns and is welcomed in the wake of other changes that offer the hope cited by the actor.
Despite the darkness that pervades much of the play, there are moments of humor, expertly delivered by the outstanding cast and director Tony Kelly.
The workable set is by Guilio Cesare Perrone with lighting by Michael Palumbo, costumes by Ashley Garlick and sound by Cliff Caruthers.
Running about an hour and 45 minutes with no intermission, this isn’t what one might consider holiday fare, but it’s absorbing and well acted, making it worthwhile, but only for adults.
“The Night Alive” will continue through Dec. 11 at San Jose Stage Company, 420 S. First St., San Jose. For tickets and information, call (408) 283-7142 or visit www.thestage.org.