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Theatre reviews, interviews and features from Ireland and elsewhere

Guaranteed! moves to the screen

We are currently in pre-production on The Guarantee, a film version of Guaranteed! for TV3, produced by John Kelleher Media and supported by the BAI and IFB. Ian Power is directing. More here.

Filming the theatre: NT Live & the Abbey

“My dream,” says Fiach Mac Conghail, director of the Abbey, “would be to have The Plough and the Stars during Easter Week 2016 broadcast globally. It’s a no-brainer.” Whatever about staging Sean O’Casey’s anti-heroic 1916 play at the Abbey during the centenary celebrations, broadcasting it globally? Just a few years ago, such an idea would… read more +

‘The whole place stinks of corpses’ John Calder & Beckett’s Endgame

January 29 2014: John Calder’s Godot Company is back on tour, with Happy Days. This article was written for the Irish Independent on the occasion of their tour of Endgame, in September 2009. See also this article for Le Monde Diplomatique. * “The whole place stinks of corpses,” says Hamm. “The whole universe,” says Clov…. read more +

From street to stage: interview with Phil Kingston (2009)

Phil Kingston was in his first year at London’s prestigious Central drama school when a senior staff member gave him some sage advice. “You can be a musician and a smackhead, but you can’t be an actor and a smackhead.” Kingston was a heroin addict. He paid for his addiction with his commission from work… read more +

From the archive: An interview with Ulick O’Connor, Irish writer

Ulick O’Connor, once famous for something literary, vaguely remembered, sits in his three-storey Victorian home in Rathgar, surrounded by books and mementos. He writes, still, and manages his archives, and fulminates about the lies and ineptitude of those in power, and involves himself in theatre. He is welcoming but tired. “I’ve had a terrible three… read more +

Guaranteed! A play about the bank guarantee

My play on the banking crisis is to be staged by Fishamble from June 24 to July 2.

Letter from New York, and London

I get a lot of emails for this column: largely press releases, but there are also the emails that come directly from theatre makers. If they’re writing to me themselves, they’re usually young and probably broke. Mostly, I can’t write about them: they get in touch too late; or their play doesn’t sound any good;… read more +

Theatre: Ten Shows for Twenty Thirteen

It may be tough out there, but Irish theatre is responding with hard-nosed good sense. With funding cut, there’s a new focus on what audiences want. And in times of recession, as Michael Colgan says, they want entertainment. Here are ten shows in 2013 that look likely to entertain, and may well inspire.

The theatre of 2012

Recent Irish theatre has lacked a master imagination: it’s too long since we have seen a new play to rival the best of John B Keane or Brian Friel or Tom Murphy. Or so I wrote this time last year, reviewing the theatre of 2011. In 2012, Irish theatre found a master imagination again. And… read more +

What the Dickens

In late September, 1843, Charles Dickens was sent a recently-published report on child labour in Britain. It enraged him. He set about writing a response; six weeks later, he was finished. It was published on December 19 and was an instant success. On Christmas Day alone, it sold 6,000 copies