Play by Eugene O'Neill. The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. Set in August 1912, Eugene O'Neill's masterpiece unfolds over one long summer's day in the life of the troubled Tyrone family - James and Mary Tyrone and their sons, Jamie and Edmund. An extraordinary psychological epic, centring around the Mother's painful decline into morphine addiction, with all four family members battle their demons, their pasts, and one another in four extraordinary personal struggles as the family disintegrates into physical and spiritual ruin. Hailed as one of the finest plays in the history of American theatre.
Original West End London Production 1958 with Anthony Quayle and Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies
Opened 24 September 1958, Closed 3 January 1959 at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre)
The cast featured Anthony Quayle as 'James Tyrone', Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as 'Mary Cavan Tyrone', Ian Bannen as 'Jamie Tyrone', Alan Bates as 'Edmund Tyrone', and Etain O'Dell as 'Cathleen'.
Directed by Jose Quintero with sets by David Hays, and costumes by Motley (Margaret Harris, Sophie Harris and Elizabeth Montgomery Wilmot).
A transfer from New York's Broadway where this production played at the Helen Hayes Theatre, presented in a completely re-cast staging in London's West End - prior to London, this production was presented as part of the Edinburgh International Festival at the Lyceum Theatre - opened on 8 September 1958, and closed on 13 September 1958 - with the same cast as in London's West End.
1st West End London Revival 1971 with Laurence Olivier and Constance Cummings
Previewed 14 December 1971, Opened 21 December 1971, Closed 11 March 1972 (in repertory) at the New Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)
Transferred 23 August 1972, Closed 8 September 1973 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre
The cast featured Laurence Olivier as 'James Tyrone', Constance Cummings as 'Mary Cavan Tyrone', Denis Quilley as 'Jamie Tyrone', Ronald Pickup as 'Edmund Tyrone', and Jo Maxwell-Muller as 'Cathleen'. During the run the role of 'Cathleen' was firstly taken over by Maureen Lipman, and then by Rachel Davies.
Directed by Michael Blakemore with designs by Michael Annals, and lighting by Robert Bryan.
This production was filmed by ITV for television broadcast in the UK on Saturday 21 April 1973.
2nd West End London Revival with Jack Lemmon and Bethel Leslie
Previewed 31 July 1986, Opened 4 August 1986, Closed 4 October 1986 at the Haymarket Theatre
The cast featured Jack Lemmon as 'James Tyrone', Bethel Leslie as 'Mary Cavan Tyrone', Kevin Spacey as 'Jamie Tyrone', Peter Gallagher as 'Edmund Tyrone', and Jodie Lynne McClintock as 'Cathleen'.
Directed by Jonathan Miller with sets by Tony Straiges, costumes by Willa Kim, and lighting by Richard Nelson.
A transfer from New York's Broadway where this production played at the Broadhurst Theatre - previewed from 22 April 1988, opened on 28 April 1988, and closed on 29 June 1986 - with the same cast.
London Revival 1991 with Timothy West and Prunella Scales
Previewed 15 May 1991, Opened 21 May 1991, Closed 28 September 1991 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre
The cast featured Timothy West as 'James Tyrone', Prunella Scales as 'Mary Cavan Tyrone', Sean McGinley as 'Jamie Tyrone', Stephen Dillane as 'Edmund Tyrone', and Geraldine Fitzgerald as 'Cathleen'.
Directed by Howard Davies with designs by John Gunter, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Dominic Muldowney, and sound by John Leonard and Christopher Johns.
A transfer from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre - previewed from 14 February 1991, opened on 19 February 1991, and closed on 16 March 1991 - with the same cast following which the production embarked on a short regional tour prior to transferring to London.
London Revival 1996 with Richard Johnson and Penelope Wilton
Previewed 2 July 1996, Opened 4 July 1996, Closed 10 August 1996 at the Young Vic TheatreThe cast featured Richard Johnson as 'James Tyrone', Penelope Wilton as 'Mary Cavan Tyrone', Paul Rhys as 'Jamie Tyrone', Mark Lambert as 'Edmund Tyrone', and Niamh Lihehan as 'Cathleen'.
Directed by Laurence Boswell with designs by Peter Ruthven Hall, and lighting by Jon Linstrum.
A transfer from the Plymouth Theatre Royal - previewed from 20 June 1996, opened on 21 June 1996, and closed on 29 June 1996 - with the same cast.
3rd West End London Revival 2000 with Charles Dance and Jessica Lange
Previewed 8 November 2000, Opened 21 November 2000, Closed 3 March 2001 at the Lyric Theatre
A major revival of Eugene O'Neill's classic play Long Day's Journey into Night in London starring Jessica Lange and Charles Dance
The cast featured Charles Dance as 'James Tyrone', Jessica Lange as 'Mary Tyrone', Paul Rudd as 'James Tyrone', Paul Nicholls as 'Edmund Tyrone', and Olivia Colman as 'Cathleen'.
Directed by Robin Phillips with designs by Simon Higlett, lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Matt McKenzie.
"Here are Jessica Lange and Charles Dance in what's probably the finest, and certainly the most emotionally raw, of American plays - and last night both were acting way beyond what I had patronisingly assumed to be their abilities... Lange is, if anything, more adventurous and surprising... Always she's riveting. So is Robin Phillips's production. And so is Eugene O'Neill's great play." The Times
"[Jessica Lange] is fabulous in this, even if it is occasionally hard to square her sex-bomb status from the movies with her portrait of a decaying dame in the grips of her addiction... The great thing about Robin Phillips' production is that it catches the mordant comedy of this Irish-American clan constantly sniping and putting each other down while all are stuck in the same leaky boat. The household is presided over James - Charles Dance on terrific form - a whisky-addled actor and a miser too mean to get proper treatment for his tubercular son Edmund, played with wry, tragic amusement by Paul Nicholls. Meanwhile, the other son (Paul Rudd, also excellent) pours the booze down his throat and scorn on everyone else. You can almost hear the crash and burn of the American dream. The last time I saw this play in London it starred Jack Lemmon and a young Kevin Spacey in the cast. By a whisker, I preferred that producction. This, though, is a majestic piece of theatre and does a great play proud." The Daily Express
"Jessica Lange, as the morphine-addicted mother in Eugene O'Neill's epic play A Long Day's Journey Into Night, can take the breath away on a stage as well as on film. Moreover, Robin Phillips's production of this play about a family so dysfunctional they make the Windsors look like the Waltons, is beautifully judged, bringing out how closely the harrowing and the hilarious come to resemble each other in O'Neill's lengthy guts-out-on-the-table piece... As her retired thesp husband, Charles Dance, with his peeled-prawn sensitive eyes and witty, dismissive timing, gives a cleverly low-key performance, showing you all the ache of remembered desire in the way his fingers sometimes itch to caress and comfort her. But it's the younger generation, Paul Rudd and Paul Nicholls, who are sensational as the two sons. Their scenes together are both terribly funny and truly agonising. This pair expertly capture the electric intimacy and rivalry of youths who have, on the one hand, been set at odds by their difficult, addictive parents and, on the other, been brought too close together by the shared burden of them." The Independent
"Do we need another Hollywood star treading the London stage? No sooner has Home Alone prodigy Macaulay Culkin settled into Madame Melville, and Daryl Hannah braved The Seven Year Itch, than along comes Jessica Lange, slipping into Eugene O'Neill's classic 1941 drama of family dysfunction... Well, the answer is that if all the imports are as good as Ms Lange, then by all means, let's stuff Shaftesbury Avenue with Tinseltown's finest. Unfortunately, while one can only applaud this fine actress's decision to make a return visit to the West End after starring in Peter Hall's A Streetcar Named Desire three years ago, it has to be said that Robin Phillips's production doesn't do her talents justice. This three-and-a-half-hour production takes a good while to draw you in, largely because of some lacklustre turns from Lange's male co-stars... Lange creates a haunting impression of a mother and wife suffocating herself and those around her with incessant neurosis and paranoia... What any production needs to do is to offset this sad, self-consciously meek creature with some overt fire and acrimony But for much of the first two acts, the level of tension is no worse than the average Christmas lunch. Charles Dance's failed actor and money-grubbing landowner of a husband sits stolidly at the living-room table, occasionally deigning to frown. And where is the passion and vitriol that should drive his sons - the high-living waster James Jr (a disappointing Paul Rudd) and the aspirant but cunsumptive Edmund (an inappropriately healthy-looking Paul Nicholls)? The problem is partly O'Neill's doing. The play's static, verbose quality naturally de-animates the characters." The Daily Telegraph
"Jack Nicholson once described Jessica Lange as a cross between a fawn and a Buick, a combination which works beautifully here. One moment she is affecting feminine, weepy fragility, the next she can't stop herself metaphorically driving straight at her husband or children and running them over with a cruel phrase ('I still love you - despite everything'). Forever fiddling with her hair or screwing up a hanky in her hand, simultaneously tortured and torturing, Lange is riveting. Moreover, her timing is superb, as is director Robin Phillips's production, always alert to the black and bleak comedy buried (and often overlooked) in this tragedy. Charles Dance is quietly compelling as the old actor. While he still can't keep his hands or his lips off his wife, his devotion is tinged with despair. Like the set, he looks all washed out, faded. As the gorgeous doomed brothers, Paul Rudd and Paul Nicholls emerge as exciting stage talents. This is a journey of real discovery, well worth making." The Mail on Sunday
A Long Day's Journey Into Night in London at the Lyric Theatre previewed from 8 November 2000, opened on 21 November 2000 and closed on 3 March 2001
4th West End London Revival 2012 with David Suchet and Laurie Metcalf
Previewed 3 April 2012, Opened 11 April 2012, Closed 18 August 2012 at the Apollo Theatre
A major revival of Eugene O'Neill's classic play Long Day's Journey into Night in London starring David Suchet and directed by Anthony Page
The cast featured David Suchet as 'James Tyrone', Laurie Metcalf as 'Mary Tyrone', Trevor White as 'Jamie Tyrone', Kyle Soller as 'Edmund Tyrone'. Rosie Sansom as 'Cathleen'. Directed by Anthony Page with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Gareth Owen.
David Suchet's recent West End theatre credits includes Arthur Miller's All My Sons (Apollo Theatre 2010), Joe Sutton's Complicit (Old Vic Theatre 2009), Roger Crane's The Last Confession (Haymarket Theatre 2007) and Terence Rattigan's Man and Boy (Duchess Theatre 2005). Anthony Page's recent London West End directing credits include directing Noel Coward's Design for Living (Old Vic Theatre 2010), Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin (Apollo Theatre 2006), Tennessee Williams's The Night Of The Iguana starring Woody Harrelson (Lyric Theatre 2005) and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Enigmatic Variations starring Donald Sutherland (Savoy Theatre 2000).
"All three hours of the work are played out in the living room of the Tyrones' summer home, from first thing one day in 1912 and right through until midnight, when the fog has started to roll in outside and the depression is all but impenetrable within... Laurie Metcalf as Tyrone's wife and Trevor White and Kyle Soller as his children are playing roles where it is all too easy to get a bit carried away and, in my view, they do so in this production, by quite a distance. David Suchet, with his chillingly false little smiles and hauntingly sorrowful eyes, somehow manages to keep it all together, however, and just this side of being believable." The Sunday Telegraph
"This production gives us four quite superb acting performances. Even a fifth, Rosie Sansom as Cathleen, the sly Irish servant girl, is a delight. David Suchet as the tyrannical Tyrone is the dominant paterfamilias he does so well, gradually crumbling away to reveal hidden sorrows of his own... Trevor White is excellent as James Jr, the smiling, feckless, damaged man of the world, capable of forming relationships only with women such as Fat Violet down at the local whorehouse, where he goes at night to sob on her ample bosom, before coming home again to explain that he is really in love with her... Kyle Soller as the quieter Edmund is an unshowy performance that grows on you steadily until, by the end, he's the character who interests you most... Above all, there is the heartrending Laurie Metcalf as Mary, white-haired and elegant in her pale-blue summer dress, yet with something strangely evasive and disconnected in her manner... Anthony Page directs this lugubrious masterpiece with absolute assurance and some beautiful touches, most memorably when a summer fog comes creeping up against the garden windows and the room feels cut off from the rest of the world with a chilling finality." The Sunday Times
"A wife and husband and their two sons are all trapped in the living hell of addiction and an inherited compulsion to blame someone else for the fact that 'something got between us and what we want to be'. The mother, Mary, is a morphine addict, the actor father, James Tyrone, is a skinflint and a drinker. Edmund, a would-be writer, has TB, and his elder brother, Jamie, is an alcoholic layabout. For almost three hours we watch them tear mercilessly at their own and each others' wounds. Yes, it's distressing and disturbing... Anthony Page's production compellingly captures this but, thanks to some astonishing performances, you are left not only emotionally drained but also exhilarated and enriched... As ever, David Suchet, as James, is a force to be reckoned with... It's Laurie Metcalf who steals this show, however, so much so that when she's off-stage - as she is for too long in the second half - she is missed. Her magnificent Mary has a grace even as she floats away into a place where no one - and nothing - can reach her." The Mail on Sunday
Long Day's Journey Into Night in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 3 April 2012, opened on 11 April 2012 and closed on 18 August 2012.
5th West End London Revival 2018 with Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville
Previewed 27 January 2018, Opened 6 February 2018, Closed 7 April 2018 at the Wyndham's Theatre
A major revival of Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey into Night in London starring Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville and directed by Richard Eyre
This production transfers to London's West End following an acclaimed sold out run in March 2016 at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre - both Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville are reprsing their roles for the London run here at the Wyndham's Theatre.
The cast features Jeremy Irons as 'James Tyrone', Lesley Manville as 'Mary Tyrone', Rory Keenan as 'Jamies Tyrone', Matthew Beard as 'Edmund Tyrone', and Jessica Regan as 'Cathleen'. Directed by Richard Eyre with designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard.
When this production opened here at the Wyndham's Theatre in February 2018, Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times praised "Richard Eyre's beautifully judged production... Lesley Manville is superb... Jeremy Irons' James, brisk, watchful and tense (if a little uncertain of accent), reveals the desperately poor childhood behind the meanness that has blighted his family." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard said it was a "magnetic revival,2 adding that "in Richard Eyre's production this sprawling drama feels pacier than usual, though it still weighs in at three and a half hours. It remains a gruelling experience - Eyre calls it 'the saddest play ever written' - but has a naked emotional power that's genuinely absorbing." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper thought that "Richard Eyre's revival is shatteringly good... Lesley Manville gives a scorchingly brilliant account of the contradictions impelling Mary... Matthew Beard is excellent... The splendid Rory Keenan makes a devastating impact as the dissolute might-have-been Jamie... An unmissable masterpiece." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail highlighted that "Eugene O'Neill's American masterpiece from 1941 is a serious challenge to the will to stay awake... one reason for meeting that challenge is a stunning turn from Lesley Manville... The acting in Richard Eyre's doomy production is superb throughout... Hard work, yes, but if you're up for this long, dark journey, it's terrific." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph hailed "Richard Eyre's deluxe revival"... Jeremy Irons "displays a sure grip on his Lear-like quota of lines" and "the cigar-puffing kingpin achieves a slow-burn victory, but the most palpably searing emotional intensity is supplied by Lesley Manville as Mary Tyrone... Irish actor Rory Keenan is terrific as wastrel James Tyrone Jnr." Neil Norman in the Daily Express commented how, "at three-and-a-half hours, it is a daunting prospect but Richard Eyre's production ensures maximum engagement and the cast is headed by two major stars in Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville so we are in safe hands... A long night but a great one." Dominic Maxwell in the Times described how "the genius of the play, brought out with luminous wit and warmth in Richard Eyre's production, is how so much fury is wrapped in so much fondness... Eyre ensures that this quartet have the mutual ease as well as the mutual enmity of a real family. They loathe each other, they love each other, then it's dinnertime. It's a long night, but an electrifying one." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote that "what never ceases to astonish - and this comes out clearly in Eyre's production - is the dizzying emotional contradiction of O'Neill's characters. Within a tight classical structure, they bounce around like pinballs between reality and illusion."
Jeremy Irons' West End credits include Michael Blakemore's production of Christopher Hampton's play Embers, based on the novel by Sandor Marai, at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2006.
Lesley Manville's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Helene Alving' in Richard Eyre's revival of Henrik Ibsen's play Ghosts at the Trafalgar Studios in 2013; the role of 'Flan Kittredge' in David Grindley's revival of John Guare's play Six Degrees of Separation at the Old Vic Theatre in 2010; the role of 'Manuela' in Tom Cairns' production of Samuel Adamson's play All About My Mother, based on the film by Pedro Almodovar, at the Old Vic Theatre in 2007; and the role of 'Lindsay' in David Grindley's production of Neil LaBute's comedy Some Girls at the Gielgud Theatre in 2005.
Matthew Beard's London theatre credits include the role of 'Edward Sergeant' in Stephen Daldry's revival of David Hare's play Skylight at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2014. Rory Keenan's London stage credits include the role of 'Brother John Lemaitre, the Inquisitor' in Josie Rourke's revival of George Bernard Shaw's play Saint Joan at the Donmar Warehouse in 2016. Jessica Regan's London theatre credits include the role of 'Captain MacMorris, Montjoy' in Robert Hastie's revival of William Shakespeare's Henry V at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2016.
"Richard Eyre's meticulous, expertly modulated production does full justice to O'Neill's text. Rob Howells's set, exquisitely lit by Peter Mumford, is a wonderfully atmospheric living room, while its mirrored surfaces create a visual metaphor for the selfreflecting drama. Jeremy Irons's natural mode as an actor is fastidious rather than farouche, but he perfectly captures James Tyrone's professional extravagance and personal meanness. Lesley Manville's exquisite, birdlike Mary is profoundly affecting as she moves through the various stages of addiction from frenzy to euphoria. Matthew Beard and Rory Keenan are expertly matched as the poetic, neurasthenic Edmund and the ebullient, self-hating Jamie. Jessica Regan provides a splendid cameo as the slyly manipulative maid, Kathleen. This superlative production is not to be missed." The Sunday Express
"Lesley Manville makes Mary the unsteady linchpin of Eugene O'Neill's unwieldy masterpiece, unperformed in his lifetime because it was so close to the bone... Three fine actors position themselves around Manville. O'Neill's father, like Papa Tyrone, was a star actor known for a crowd-pleasing melodrama, The Count of Monte Cristo. Jeremy Irons isn't that kind of florid ham, but has a heart-stopping profile and a frame made for period swagger... The two sons are new to the production, which was first performed at Bristol Old Vic. Rory Keenan's slumped, sodden brother has turned gross. After a morning's gardening, he wraps an ice cube in his hanky, swabs his armpits then tips the ice back in the bowl. Younger brother Edmund is O'Neill's avatar, and spindly Matthew Beard makes him a gorgeously attentive listener - humorous, enrapt, appalled by turns." The Sunday Times
"As the title suggests, don't expect a quick show. But done right, Eugene O'Neill's part-autobiographical 1941 masterpiece about a well-to-do family in the grip of its mother's drug abuse might be the most haunting play you will ever see. And with Lesley Manville as the morphine-addicted Mary, this revival has been done right. Richard Eyre's production is a slo-mo pummelling of the emotions. Set in the Tyrones' Connecticut summer house, it reveals a family initially in good spirits. Mary's grown-up sons James , a waster, and budding poet Edmund, tease their father pompous actor James, played by Jeremy Irons. It's been two months since Mary had a fix and the men in her life hope she may have kicked the habit that threatened their family. But her watchful older son James can see the coming relapse. When it arrives, it hits with the force of a hurricane... Manville brilliantly announces the return of the addict and departure of a mother when Mary's pretty patter switches to rage and resentment. A devastating family portrait follows, full of blame, forgiveness, love and finally tragic acceptance." The London Metro
Long Day's Journey Into Night in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 27 January 2018, opened on 6 February 2018 and closed on 7 April 2018