The big attraction here is Brian Cox. Fresh off his role as Logan Roy in Succession, the original Hannibal Lecktor (yes!) returns to the stage for the first time in ten years.

As Eugene O'Neill's monstrous paterfamilias, James Tyrone, he's a clear choice.

O'Neill's searing autobiographical masterpiece was never intended to be performed, but rather to be read 25 years after his death.

Sorry, Eugene, but you can't suppress a good move.

Set over a day and night in 1912 at the Tyrone family's summer home, it is a devastating portrait of a family bound together by toxic secrets and bottled deception: the family that denies together, stays together.

Tyrone Sr. is an actor who sold his art to Mammon. There is no greater burden than great potential and James Tyrone was considered the greatest classical actor of his generation until he acquired the rights to The Count of Monte Cristo, which was his ticket to commercial success but ruined his career.

His pathological fear of poverty has turned him into a Scrooge-like curmudgeon and kidnapped from the only place they can call 'home', he and his two confused sons spend their time drinking, prostituting and trying to deal with their self-destructive mother. whose addiction comes in a needle and not in a bottle.

At three and a half hours it's a long way off, but Jeremy Herrin's clean, uncluttered production is consistently engaging. Cox is a fascinating presence, although at the moment it is a game of two halves.

The one-note arrogance of the first act fails to convey Tyrone's persuasive self-pity; Instead of compensating for his shaky control over the lines, he only recovers in the second half, especially in the long monologue with his youngest son, Edmund, diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Until then, all eyes are on Patricia Clarkson as Mary Tyrone, who gives a forensically detailed performance of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

She wanders through her scenes like a ghost and the sudden changes from loving mother to spitting snake as the morphine takes effect are hauntingly authentic.

Ably supported by Daryl McCormack and Laurie Kynaston as sons Jamie and Edmond and a delightful performance by Louisa Harland as maid Cathleen, it's a robust production of a deadly masterpiece.

A long but rewarding night at the theater.

Long Day's Journey Into Night will be playing at Wyndham's Theater until June 8

Tickets: 0344 482 5151

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