Going Out: Theatre: shadows

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The Independent Culture
For those whose hearts sink at the prospect of the lean dramatic fare on offer this pantotide, the RSC's winter season in London is a godsend, although the acclaimed trilogy of one-act Irish plays presented under the banner Shadows is hardly cheering stuff. John Crowley - who has also directed the psychocandy Sondheim musical Into the Woods at the Donmar - has rustled up an evening themed around the subject of bereavement and informed by the harsher rhythms of rural life. There are two by Synge from 1904. In the Shadow of the Glen, the wry tale of an old farmer who tests the fidelity of his young wife by feigning death, will do something to reinstate laughter lines eradicated by the harrowing Riders to the Sea, in which two Aran Island women lament as the last of their menfolk is claimed by the deep. The evening ends with Yeats's poetic nightmare Purgatory, about a family caught in a cycle of bloodshed. Unmissable stuff.

Currently previewing, opens Wed, then in rep at The Pit, Barbican Centre, Silk Street London EC2 (0171-638 8891) 7.15pm

Dominic Cavendish