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Long Day's Journey Into Night (BAM)

From 28 critic and 64 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Intelligent, Intense

About the show

The Bristol Old Vic’s staging of Eugene O’Neill’s searing autobiographical family portrait comes to BAM starring celebrated and screen actor Jeremy Irons ('The Borgias') as whiskey-soaked patriarch James Tyrone. More…

The Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork spills out over a single day at the Tyrones’ Connecticut summer home, as a series of blistering revelations test the ties that have tenuously bound the couple and their sons, Jamie and Edmund, through the years. Charting their descent as day turns to night and the fog rolls in from the sea, this devastating production is a vibrating study of love, illness, and addiction— to drink, drugs, and the shadows of the past. 


"'Long Day's Journey into Night,' which has been called America's greatest play, has had two other major New York productions since 2003… However, that the play reveals so many different facets in each version tells you how great a play it is. Irons, Manville and company have a myriad of things to show us in this magnum opus… And in Manville's performances, she reaches the heights of the dramatic art: you never feel that she is acting for one moment but has become Mary Tyrone." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"It could be said that 'Long Day’s Journey Into Night' is the absolute quintessential American play—the greatest of all 20th-century American plays...Manville seizes the opportunity to turn Mary into a tour de force of unmitigated anxiety. And appreciative nods to Irons—who looks like Eugene O’Neill (!)—for giving a typically generous on-the-mark performance. Is Eyre’s meeting with O’Neill perfect? It’s a close as anyone might want. Nothing seems missing." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

“Eyre’s deeply intimate staging of O’Neill’s autobiographical masterpiece...A stunning, slightly amended production...Howell’s set is staggeringly breathtaking...Eyre focuses on conversations between two characters, making it feel like we are invading their privacy, intruding on this dysfunctional family...The cast is exceptional, led by a brilliant performance by Manville...As dark as the play is, Eyre holds out just enough hope that this time things will turn around for the Tyrones.” Full Review

Off Off Online

"Eyre’s production plays so grippingly that it's never a slog...Each repetition...rings true, and many of them prove comical...The crucial role in any production is Mary...Manville is superb, from her pitch-perfect American accent to the way she veers from worry to delight, to petulance, to any other emotion you’d care to name...This production induces a warmth and affection toward its characters, especially Manville’s Mary, that promise a memorable experience." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"A dreamy, vortex-like quality presides...extends beyond the physical production to the performances, especially Lesley Manville’s feverishly brilliant portrayal of Mary...Considering the nearly three-and-a-half-hour running time, director Eyre keeps scenes moving at a sprightly pace as characters lash out at one another and retreat to their respective corners...If there’s a reason to see this 'Long Day’s Journey,' it’s to watch Ms. Manville transform." Full Review


"Do we need another 'Long Day's Journey' just two years after Jonathan Kent's acclaimed Broadway revival with Jessica Lange and Gabriel Byrne? The answer is yes and the principal reason is Manville's complex, insightful interpretation of Mary...Hers is the least stagy, most convincing performance one is likely to see, with no concessions to vanity or interpretive innovation...The three men surrounding Manville tackle their roles from disparate and somewhat incompatible angles." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"I’ve never seen a more loving portrayal of Mary Tyrone than Manville’s...What’s most impressive about Manville’s performance—and it is an extremely impressive performance—is her ever-so-subtle transformation from fresh-from-the-sanatorium recovering addict into drug-dependent shell of a woman...Inevitably, the energy flags when Manville is off-stage. Though it’s undeniably fun listening to Irons do Tyrone’s foreign-authors rant." Full Review


"The scathing autobiographical honesty and desolation of the playwright’s masterpiece...Manville, especially, brings that heartbroken quality to the fore in a wrenching performance...A mesmerizing symphony of rambling, barely disguised resentments and outbursts of flashing anger...Irons matches her step-by-step, his terrific portrayal of James moving sure-footedly...In this production, only Keenan, as the drunken, brothel-going elder brother, falls short." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"O’Neill’s domestic dance feels like a literal dance at times in this version...The distinctive touches of the production, some at variance with the playwright’s conception, don’t wind up seriously detracting from what most matters...The play is a powerful and insightful tragedy that painfully reveals the specific regrets, disappointments and self-loathing of a damaged family...For me the production at BAM suffers for coming just two years after that Broadway production starring Jessica Lange." Full Review


"Their performances brim with anguish and gritty realism, while Eyre's direction adds a dreamlike patina to this story...Irons's performance is notable for capturing the silent gestures buried in O'Neill's work that only a great actor could tease out...Though Eyre's direction keeps the action moving despite voluminous passages of dialogue, the play's second half sputters during the long scene between Edmund and James...Fortunately, this production does not drift." Full Review

Epoch Times

“A fervent depiction of a love-hate relationship among a family of four, a kind of intense ping-pong game for the production’s three-and-a-half hours on stage...The text of the play arguably compares to opera...The work presents an authentic human tragedy...Irons does a fine job as the family patriarch, against tough odds. Manville’s early scenes display an uncomfortable sing-song-y vocal pattern, but smooths out as the play ensues.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"The four lumber forward, each getting their moment in the spotlight to illuminate their pathetic and self-defeating mindsets, fluctuating between moments of tenderness and affection with resentments and outwardly hostile blame. The moments are staggering and generally authentically delivered, but the minutes start to feel like hours, and I can’t help but secretly hold my breath waiting for Mary to reenter and give her final monologue, signaling the end." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"If Eyre has guided Manville and Irons into giving performances that surely must rank among their best, he hasn't done as well by the younger generation of Tyrones...This is not the most accomplished production of 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' to come our way in recent years, but anyone who loves this piece -- one of American drama's very few masterpieces -- will be fascinated by the way Manville and Irons inhabit their characters' darkest corners." Full Review

The Washington Post

"Eyre’s mixed bag of a revival, one alternately engrossing and overly wound up, and in any case, disappointingly, never a soul-shatterer. The absorbing aspects have mostly to do with the motivations and interactions of Irons’s James and Manville’s Mary...It rarely has been as clear as in the way Irons and Manville impress it upon us the depths of James’s and Mary’s narcissism, how their lifelong fixations on their own stunted childhoods have rendered them incapable of nurturing anyone else." Full Review

The New York Times

"This 'Journey' is often downright sprightly. That doesn’t mean that after three-and-half hours in the company of the Tyrones you don’t still feel numb with fatigue...For a while, it’s a gripping, oddly enjoyable approach...In the play’s second half...the action slows down to allow each character an aria of self-explanation. And it’s then you begin to sense that something’s off-kilter in this production. Could these people really be members of the same family, or even the same play?" Full Review

Theater News Online

“Irons’ American accent is atrocious...The leading man’s shaky accent keeps pulling you out of the world of the play. It contributes to an overall tonal incoherence in this production, staged a bit too broadly...The ensemble members seem to be in different plays...Almost resembles a period sitcom, with members of a dysfunctional family sniping amusingly at each other...The one unambiguous triumph is Manville.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"There are big-ticket plays that terrify their actors; famous stars who fluster their colleagues; massive sets that turn environments from living things into monuments. The Bristol Old Vic’s 'Long Day’s Journey Into Night' manages to have all three problems at once in the blustery, muddled production now at BAM, where the show’s three and half hours lumber very slowly by...Although Manville and Irons find wonderful moments, the play as a whole keeps staggering." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Featuring underwhelming starring performances by Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville...The show is startlingly lifeless, the majority of its potential tragic power sacrificed to mannered, unvaried performances that seldom make the dive into anything resembling emotional truth...It’s all breathtakingly pretty — and hugely distracting. Rather than a space in which an emotionally dropped-in story can play out, the set feels like an excited intellectual exercise." Full Review

The Independent (UK)

for a previous production "Eyre’s shatteringly good. After emerge drained but in that state of elation to which only true tragedy, confronted searchingly and honesty, can bring you...Eyre conducts the piece with a masterly touch, its repetitions...coming across like the emotionally incremental recapitulations in a great piece of music...The production is wonderfully alert to the way that the characters swing on an axis between love and hate...An unmissable masterpiece." Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "I was in tears at the end of this astonishing production...That's partly because it is such a great play...Eyre has taken a classic, written in 1941, and treated it as a new play, stripping away all previous conceptions. Thanks to a quartet of magnificent performances led by Manville and Irons, it finds a freshness and directness that touches to the heart...Eyre makes the dialogue whip along. It has the thrust and speed of real family life. But he gives weight to words and meanings." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

for a previous production "Though it is inexpressibly sad, Richard Eyre’s beautifully judged production also shows us how much love courses through this unsparing portrait of damaged, damaging people...At its heart is Mary...Manville is superb in the role, bringing exquisite detail and depth...Guilt, recrimination, remorse and self-defence roll around the stage, but as night wears on, flashes of truth and tender understanding pierce the gloom." Full Review

Express UK

for a previous production "At three-and-a-half hours, it is a daunting prospect but Richard Eyre’s production ensures maximum engagement...Manville is magnificent, wandering around like a ghost or the Woman In White as she shuttles between unnatural sprightliness and despair at the downward spiral of her life...The family bonds of suffering, contempt and love are stretched, and strained almost to breaking point. Almost but not quite. If nothing else their codependency is unbreakable. A long night but a great one." Full Review

The Times (UK)

for a previous production "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." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "A rhythm that allows us to feel that we are living, like the Tyrone family, through a day and a night of alternating hope and despair. What never ceases to astonish is the dizzying emotional contradiction of O’Neill’s characters...They bounce around like pinballs between reality and illusion...A play that if well done, as it is here, leaves you emotionally pulverised by the feeling that O’Neill, in providing an unsparing portrait of his family, is seeking their posthumous forgiveness." Full Review

The Telegraph (UK)

for a previous production "Eyre’s deluxe revival of O’Neill’s immense, autobiographically rooted drama...Irons gives the impression of a forlorn, sniping, refined man about the house rather than a prowling, growling survivor of too many nights on the road...The most palpably searing emotional intensity is supplied by Lesley Manville...One of the 20th century’s defining dramas of American dreams and disappointments...O’Neill forges a deeper, tragic sense of handed-on misery, an inescapable inheritance." Full Review

Intense, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if This play is an extraordinary intense experience delivered by four great actors who are able to portray the complex, three dimensional

Don't see it if you are not a fan of Eugene O'nell

Also characters to perfection.

Edgy, Intelligent, Dizzying, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You want to be completely absorbed into a tragic family drama by a set of truly outstanding actors. Breathtaking

Don't see it if You saw some legendary production of LDJiN that can never be replicated. Or you can’t physically sit 3.5 hours. Although BAM seats are comfy

Also The first act is (deliberately) emotionally painful. We got drinks at ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Great staging, Must see, Great acting

See it if you enjoy seriously great acting that appears totally natural, gets you interested in the dialogue, and makes time fly. Amazing.

Don't see it if you can't concentrate on anything that is longer than a twitter text...

Also the architectural "glasshouse" set is fabulous and so appropriate for ... Read more Read less

Intense, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Loved the show. So well acted. Brilliant dialogue.

Don't see it if Do see if you are uncomfortable with family disfunction or drug use.

Riveting, Must see, Masterful, Intense, Great writing

See it if You've never seen this play. An absolute masterpiece of American theater very well-executed by this cast (especially Manville [& Irons])

Don't see it if Emotionally devastating family dramas aren't your jam.

Masterful, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy classic plays that make you feel, think and ponder well afterwards

Don't see it if you do not long plays, with a lot of talking and heavy themes

Also This is a classic for a reason. It delves deep into the human conditio... Read more Read less

Masterful, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if One of the great plays of American theater performed by a company of exemplary British actors. Not to be missed.

Don't see it if You want happy, comedy, music , or dance. ..and can't concentrate for over 3 hours.

Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Class A actors including Irons and Manville. Great theater/venue. Interesting and ambitious, although potentially distracting, set design.

Don't see it if No reason not to, unless not an O'Neill fan. If Lange and Byrne production was enough.

Riveting, Profound, Masterful, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see one of the greatest American plays with a masterful cast.

Don't see it if you want something less absorbing and not too long (almost 3 hours)

Profound, Resonant, Intense, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if Lesley Manville as Mary Tyrone, the addicted wife of whiskey-soused James (Jeremy Irons) is impeccable. The best of O'Neill.

Don't see it if You can't hear well; Irons keeps turning his back to the audience. Good blocking, bad projection. Play is long and depressing.

Relevant, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to see an exceptionally well done production (and see how the opioid epidemic hasn't changed much!).

Don't see it if you are a set purist - it isn't period accurate and if you are incapable of sitting fro long periods of time...

Riveting, Absorbing

See it if You like profound, beautifully felt writing delivered by a sterling cast directed by one of the most actor-friendly directors in the busines

Don't see it if You have difficulty with long sits. Play is close to four hours with one intermission. You have had enough of Irish alcoholism per O'Neill

Riveting, Intelligent, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want to see great actors handle a classic play.

Don't see it if You can't sit through a long, talky show

Exquisite, Entertaining, Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy

See it if The portrayals of O'Neill's words were spot-on.

Don't see it if It's 3 1/2 hours and is borderline morose.

Great writing, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if great acting the whole cast, funny at part and touching story of a family with problems.

Don't see it if At time very sad about drinking, drug addicts. 3 1/2 hours long.

Also BAM has new balcony seat that are higher with a stepping up step to ge... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You want to see this classic play, performed amazingly by a strong troupe of actors & like plays, that don’t seem staged but really real.

Don't see it if You want to see something happy or if conversations on addiction or a child’s death are triggers for you.

Also As others have noted the staging of this play, as if you are looking t... Read more Read less

Devastating, Powerful, Masterful

See it if you appreciate O'neill's morbid take on love, life, family, dreams, despair and disillusionment, delivered on stage by an outstanding cast.

Don't see it if you need faster pacing, have a hard time understanding Jeremy Iron's mumbling of lines, or just not ready to take a hard punch to the gut.

Funny, Intelligent, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if You want to see a masterpiece with fantastic acting.

Don't see it if You can’t stand a long, wordy play.

Slow, Great acting, Intelligent, Edgy

See it if You like classic plays and are a fan of Jeremy Irons.

Don't see it if You can't sit through 3 1/2 hours of a slow moving play that is predominantly a character study.

Must see, Masterful, Edgy, Great acting, Clever

See it if you want to see a revival of a classic with tremendous acting.

Don't see it if you can not concentrate and have a low attention span.

Great staging, Not great acting, Great acting, Inconsistent,, Great writing

See it if you can handle both a brilliant performance and a couple of indulgent performances. The play shines through, even with spotty acting.

Don't see it if you demand a flawless production. I'm not sure it's possible to do this play. I saw Olivier and he missed it. But damn what a play!

Intense, Masterful, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you're an O'Neill fan, enjoy great acting, for a clear understanding of a classic play, feel the New England setting & the caustic wit

Don't see it if 3 hrs, 20 mins seems too long for you, O'Neill bores you, hopelessness upsets you, don't like a lot of repetition for character development

Great staging, Profound, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Linear drama by a great playwright .Classic plays

Don't see it if Only interested in fluff

Great acting, Intelligent, Profound

See it if You want to see a solid production of this classical play with excellent actors, dynamic staging and strange scenic design.

Don't see it if You are not ready to listen to four members of Tyrone family torturing each other morally for more than 3 hours.

Dizzying, Intense, Slow, Resonant, Great acting

See it if you are a fan of leslie manveile

Don't see it if O'Neil's play is not your thing

Cast & Creatives (12)