Brendan Behan lived in the Chelsea hotel in New York during the 1960’s after the premier of ‘The Hostage‘. It was here he slept, drank and occasionally worked, while the city pulsated outside his window. The hotel was something of a Mecca for artists, writers and musicians so it was no surprise that Behan was drawn to this world of excitement and excess. This production takes place in his small hotel room and shows a segment from a life and genius ruined by alcohol.
The play takes place over a few short days, we meet a ballet dancer who lives across the hall, Lianne (Samantha Pearl) who has been charged by Behan’s agent to keep him sober and writing, a task that is impossible to perform but she battles admirably. Another resident of the hotel is the composer George Kleinsinger (Richard Orr) who drops in to see Brendan on regular occasions and seems to have genuine respect for him, trying to get him to see what he is doing to himself and to seek help. We meet his wife Beatrice (Pauline Hutton) who has travelled to America to see her husband after two months with no contact and she fears their marriage is failing, as there is talk he has found another woman.
“Brendan at the Chelsea,” was written by Behan’s niece Janet Behan and she shows the man as deeply flawed but exuding wit and charm. The writing is highly skilled but the play is really about the performances. It is a fine production with a strong cast, and Adrian Dunbar captures this difficult man who cannot regain control of his life. It’s quite a remarkable performance and one that will last with you for a long time. This play is only on for a short period (until next Saturday) but is not to be missed.
Brendan at the Chelsea is at the Project Art Centre from 12 November 2013-16 November 2013 @ 8.00pm
Matinee – November 16, 3.00pm – Tickets €22/18
Written by Janet Behan
Directed by Adrian Dunbar
Lighting Design by James C McFetridge
Set and Costume Design by Stuart Marshall
Cast – Adrian Dunbar, Pauline Hutton, Richard Orr, Samantha Pearl and Chris Robinson