From Suirfire Productions comes Misery, an adaptation for the stage of the famous Stephen King novel. It is also a highly successful 1990 film starring Kathy Bates and James Cann, Bates won an Oscar for her performance as the unhinged captor Annie Wilkes. Joe Meagher plays Paul Sheldon, a successful novelist who, through a series of unfortunate events has become the unwilling prisoner of Annie Wilkes played by Denise Quinn. Annie professes to be Pauls ‘No 1 fan’ and promises to nurse him back to health after his terrible car accident. All is not what it seems though as Annie turns out to be a little more than a fan of Pauls. She keeps him against his will by a combination of unique physiological warfare, a cocktail of potent addictive pain killers and violence.
Suirfire Productions a Waterford based Theatre Company, describe Misery as ‘our most ambitious production to date’ and one can understand why. To transform such a notorious and highly revered film and book to the stage must have been a daunting task. Tell anyone that you are going to see a production of Misery on stage and the first thing they will ask is ‘How will they show her breaking his legs?’ The film was not rated no 12 in ‘Bravos 100 Scariest Movie Moments’ for nothing, it is a highly intense and chilling scene which the actors deliver very convincingly, especially Paul’s blood curdling screams. The two actors captivate the audience and own the stage; Denise Quinn as Wilkes conveys Annie’s descent into hysteric insanity with a force that engages the audience and puts us in a state of unease. At the beginning of the play Joe Meagher’s Paul brings a confidence and haughtiness that possibly an injured half dead man would not have been feeling but overall gives an excellent performance as the confined Paul Sheldon.
The playwright Simon Moore does not adhere to the film script and the result is a more frantic hyper Annie and a drug addicted Paul and a lot more laughs, such as Annie’s classic one liners “you talk like I’m keeping you prisoner” but the tone is such that we are constantly aware that this is dark humour. Where the stage adaptation falls down is from the point of view of background story, if you had not seen the film you might feel a bit of a disconnect with the characters from the lack of a supporting context to the story. The set design is excellent and perfectly combines the claustrophobia felt by Paul through lighting, music and an ominous fox staring down at Paul from a cabinet top. Suirfire Productions say that high quality theatre is their aim; they have delivered a play that tells the story of two socially isolated characters whose experience with one another is transmitted by a blend of the grotesque, dark humour and suspense.
– reviewed by Emma Toner
To book tickets for MISERY phone 01 4627477 or book online here