Following the success of The Weir at the Donmar Warehouse, the theatre recently premiered Conor McPherson’s latest play, The Night Alive, directed by the playwright. The Donmar Warehouse is ideal for McPherson plays, with a highly intimate space incorporating just 250 bench-style seats on three sides of the stage. The Night Alive features typical McPherson characters and themes, with the writer’s usual focus on loneliness, fear and guilt, all infused with wit and humour. Ciarán Hinds is first-class as the frustrated but affable Tommy, and Caoilfhionn Dunne is memorable as troubled, battered Aimee. The narrative typically meanders between the characters’ problems and issues both huge and tiny, as individuals try and fail, or often don’t try at all, to get things in order. This realist look at life that McPherson favours would often seem bleak and miserable, were it not for the humour that inevitably creeps into the darkest situations, again just as it does in real life. Tommy’s friend Doc (Michael McElhatton) provides much amusement combined with pathos and the ramshackle setting itself (Tommy’s messy and unkempt flat) draws the audience into the tale. The most powerful moment of the play is also the most moving and happiest moment, when Tommy, Aimee and Doc dance to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On? in the middle of the night. The soundtrack fills the small theatre at a very loud volume, irresistibly resonating and flooding through the audience and space as well as the actors. The only jarring note of The Night Alive is its ending, which feels uncharacteristically and unrealistically happy and unnatural, introducing the sentimentality which McPherson usually successfully avoids.