On the face of it, the third play in Sheffield Theatres’ Brian Friel season is another study of urbanites living their lives in quiet desperation.
However, there is nothing quiet about My Wonderful Tennessee.
Instead of angst-ridden speeches about the futility of existence, each of the three couples, waiting in Donegal for a boat that never comes, break into song any time anything awkward about their intertwined relationships threatens to surface.
This makes for a play that unfolds frustratingly slowly and not entirely satisfactorily, as the drama lives and dies on whether you care about the characters and their problems.
The most poignant moment comes in the final scene when terminally-ill George (Luke Carver Goss) asks Angela (Andrea Irvine) to promise the friends will come back to Donegal to try and get to the Island of Mystery.
You know it is a promise that both he and the rest of the group – Terry (Dermot Kerrigan), Berna (Cathy Belton), Frank (Jean-Paul Van Cauwelaert) will be unable to keep.
Simon Daw’s harbour set is skilfully designed, but ultimately this seems to overshadow the characters on stage.
Wonderful Tennessee runs until tomorrow night.