Tyrone Torment

“If Edmund was a lousy acre of land you wanted, the sky would be the limit!”


“That’s a lie! And your sneers against Doctor Hardy are lies!”

James Tyron


.What you want to believe is the only truth.


Brian Cox as James Tyrone, Daryl McCormack as Jamie Tyrone ans Laurie Kynaston as Edmund Tyrone. (Photo: Johan Persson)

It is of course Brian Cox who from his celebrity as Logan Roy in Succession is now a very well known actor to television watchers.  He has long been significant as an actor in plays but his television appearance as the media business owner is bringing a new audience to Eugene O’Neill’s seminal play.  To those used to watching Cox in 50 minute chunks, this production lasts four times as long and it is wordy rather than visual.

Eugene O’Neill wrote this play with instructions that it was not to be opened until he had been dead for 25 years. Long Days Journey Into Night  was in fact published by his widow three years after his death.  The play was written as a cathartic experience for him, revisiting his own highly dysfunctional family.

Brian Cox as James Tyrone and Patricia Clarkson as Mary Tyrone. (Photo: Johan Persson)

The play opens with an excessively sentimental, almost mawkish James Tyrone celebrating his wife’s putting on weight and return from a clinic where she has been trying to give up morphine which she calls her painkillers.  He is lavishing praise on his wife, kissing and cuddling her and we instinctively feel all is not well in this marriage.  Within seconds on the entrance of Jamie, the Tyrone father has become vicious and hypercritical towards his elder son.  

Mary discloses her version of her early life to the maid Catherine (Louisa Harland) when all the men are out drinking.  She describes her life as a sheltered convent girl, her beautiful red hair and meeting at the theatre, the matinée idol that was to become her husband.  This version of events is far from reality.

Brian Cox as James Tyrone, Daryl McCormack as Jamie and Laurie Kynaston as Edmund. (Photo: Johann Persson)

This is a play where nobody takes responsibility for their actions.  James Tyrone doesn’t acknowledge that his parsimony is responsible for his wife’s drug addiction and his absences on acting work neglected his family.  Mary, in her head, creates an unrealistic version of her life.  Jamie never faces up to his shortcomings and Edmund doesn’t accept that what he has is worse than a cold.  Mary’s father died of consumption and James tells Jamie not to mention it in case he dislodges Mary’s fantasy about her hero father.

Lizzie Clachan’s set is a plain weatherboarded house with wooden chairs and a table. The only lighting is a single bulb from a three armed hanging brass lamp.  It does look like austerity.  Eugene O’Neill’s play is regarded as a classic alongside the family dramas of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller but it is a long watch even with performances, as good as these.  Jeremy Herrin directs well but you can’t speed up this play.

Laurie Kynaston as Edmund (Photo: Johan Persson)

Daryl McCormack is an impressive rising star and I hope we shall see more of him onstage as he is already in demand for film and television.  Laurie Kynaston has already made his dramatic mark in London and his talent is patent as Edmund, the boy who likes Baudelaire but whom has never known a healthy mother.  I very much liked Patricia Clarkson’s softly spoken, delicate Mary living in pain and fantasy.  Brian Cox has a terrific range and this part allows him to show Tyrone’s irascibility as architect of his own misery and that of his family.    

At three hours 20 minutes this Long Days Journey Into Night is not for the faint hearted!

The Cast. (Photo: Johan Persson)

Production Notes

Long Days Journey Into Night

Written by Eugene O’Neill

Directed by Jeremy Herrin



Brian Cox

Daryl McCormack

Laurie Kynaston

Louisa Harland

Patricia Clarkson


Director:  Jeremy Herrin

Designer: Lizzie Clachan

Lighting Designer:  Jack Knowles

Composer and Sound Designer:

Tom Gibbons

Movement: Polly Bennett

Fight Director: Rachid Sabitri


Running Time: Three hours 20 minutes with one interval

Booking to 8th June  2024`


Wyndhams Theatre

Charing Cross Road

London WC2H 0DA

Telehone: 0844 482 5151

Tube: Leicester Square

Telephone: 0344 871 7628

Website: longdaysjourneylondon.com

Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

on 3rd April 202