Faith Healer received its first performance in 1979 on Broadway in a production by José Quintero
.An Irish faith healer tours Scotland and Wales, avoiding a return to his native land. Finally he, his wife and his manager make the fateful journey home.
- Frank...........Owen Roe
- Grace...........Lia Williams
- Teddy...........Phil Daniels
Review by Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian, Monday 13 September 2010
On stage, Brian Friel's Faith Healer (Radio 3, Sunday) can be a challenge, told as it is in four monologues that contradict each other and tease us at length before their awful denouement. On radio, though, at least in Peter Kavanagh's superlative production for the Drama on 3 strand, the monologues take on a terrific, towering intensity: we hear everything that has happened to the characters etched onto their voices, and washed down with gulps of alcohol. The protagonist, Frank Hardy, is the healer in the title, a man of slippery talent that lets him down far more often than it delivers. Living with this unpredictable ability – a curse, quite clearly, and possibly just a thing of chance when it does work – drags him down with its uncertainty: "Those nagging, tormenting, maddening questions that rotted my life." Friel's play is also about the fear of homecoming to Ireland, and the bitter shards of family life that remain if you decide to leave. Every layer of pain and twisted, doomed fate in the writing was played beautifully here: Owen Roe as Hardy, Lia Williams as the terrifying, fragile Grace, and Phil Daniels as cockney business manager Teddy. It's still an emotionally exhausting play to listen to in one sitting, but this fine adaptation did justice to its haunting, lyrical power.