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Review: Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, at Old Red Lion Theatre

Set by the Hudson river, John Patrick Shanley’s story of a guilt-ridden single parent and a bar-room brawler misanthropist features brilliant performances

16 June, 2017 — By Jack Courtney O’Connor

Gareth O’Connor and Megan Lloyd-Jones in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. Photo: Ben Bardsley-Ball

THE Bronx-born John Patrick Shanley is known over the pond as a Catholic writer: his plays focus on guilt sin and redemption. Danny is one of his early works.

In a crummy bar in the Bronx, Roberta (Megan Lloyd-Jones) – a guilt-ridden Italian single parent – meets Danny (Gareth O’Connor), a bar-room brawling misanthropist.

Shanley could have written an unlikely urban proletarian love story but his universe encompasses the Bronx, which is situated on the Hudson river and has our hero howling at the moon with a backdrop of frogs croaking à la Mark Twain. From her flat window Roberta has seen giant fish sprouting out of the Hudson: romantic components with uncertain undercurrents.

The second part of the piece is set in Roberta’s pad where they make brutal love and agree to marry after their one-night stand.

The only problem is that Roberta, a divorcée, has been married in a Catholic church. Danny solves the problem – “We will marry Protestant” – much to Roberta’s chagrin.

There is much ironic humour in JP’s dialogue, which the actors grasp in this extremely tough production. I would not like to meet Gareth O’Connor’s Danny on a dark night and Megan is quite brilliant as Roberta who has sinned and no doubt will sin again.

0844 412 4307


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