Tuesdays With Morrie is based on Mitch Albom’s novel, which spent over four years on the New York Times Bestseller list. It is Albom’s autobiographical novel of a career-obsessed sports journalist and his former college professor. Though Albom’s script journeys into sentimentality, it is not swaddled by it and it is a credit to the directing and acting that the violin strings are held tightly from superfluous playing to the heart.
Mitch Albom – a talented musician – was a student of sociology professor Morrie Schwartz at a Boston University in the 1970’s. Leaving University, Schwart urged his protege to pursue a career in music and Albom promised his mentor (whom he called ‘Coach’) that he would keep in touch.
Fastforward sixteen years and Albom is now an extremely successful sports journalist with a frantic lifestyle, his promise to his old professor long forgotten. One night he catches a programme on TV and Morrie is the guest. Now 78 years old, his mind is fully functioning but his body is being ravaged by the neurological condition, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Mitch flies from NYC to Boston to see his old friend. It was a Tuesday – the day they used to meet in the University. This was the beginning of Mitch flying to Boston every Tuesday to spend time with Morrie – at considerable professional sacrifice.
The performances from Terry Byrne (dying) and Andrew Murray (learning to live) are superb and flawless. The actors are so comfortable in their parts that this two-act, two-hander draws the audience in and is completely believable. It is moving without being maudlin, due in no small part to Albom exactly where to place the many poignant comic lines in an otherwise extremely sad story.
The minimal set adds to the sterling performances of the players, making it all feel ‘real’ in what could otherwise have been a decent into maudlin sentimentality as the progress of the disease is graphically described. The chemistry between the actors is magical and it is fascinating to watch Terry Byrne’s understated performance grow as it moves towards a quiet acceptance of death.
Tuesdays with Morrie will make you laugh, it will make you cry – but most of all it will make you think.
Little did Morrie Schwartz realise during his lifetime that his wisdom would touch millions; a book, a movie and then a play and their cumulative impact on readers, movie lovers and theatre goers certainly proves the adage that one good teacher’s influence on just one good student can affect positively on the lives of many.
Two fantastic performances and interaction between two players. At times funny and touching but always with a gem of wisdom in the dialogue. Don’t miss this. Rating 10/10
Title: Tuesdays With Morrie *****
Date/Time: 25 – 30 March; Tues-Sat 7.45pm, Sat & Sun 2.30pm
Venue: Lyric Theatre, Danske Bank Stage
Description: Adapted from the phenomenally sucessful novel by Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie tells the story of a journalist who makes contact with his dying former college professor and gets a last class in the meaning of life.
Cost: £18-£22 : Read our review: click here
Contact: www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or Lyric box office on 028 9038 1081