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Theatre reviews, interviews and features from Ireland and elsewhere

Review: Raoul at the Abbey Theatre

This might be the most beautiful thing you will ever see on the Abbey stage. Some philanthropist should block-book the Abbey for the week and give the tickets to teenagers and people who’ve never been to the theatre. And then they should persuade James Thiérrée to stay on for a few nights, and straight after… read more +

New radio series on theatre & protest

2010: A good year in Irish theatre

As the media and political system obsessed with the question of Irish sovereignty, late last year, in one area at least we were still in control of affairs, and running them well. Irish theatre had a good year, one of the best in my time covering it. Theatre companies responded to more difficult circumstances with… read more +

Review: Scrooge, at the Grand Canal Theatre

It was a Dickensian night in Dublin as we hustled towards the Grand Canal Theatre, skating under the shadows of empty buildings, and reeling from the austerity of the budget and the winter. Rarely can the story of A Christmas Carol have been told in more auspicious a context. As poor Bob Cratchit (Morgan Crowley)… read more +

Making a documentary on Angola

I had been thinking about the trip ahead for eight years, and had spent €5,000 to get here. And now, just as I was about to start, I felt like quittin I was standing at a dusty border crossing in the very south of Angola, in southern Africa. Trucks heading north trundled past, accelerating away… read more +

That quare fellow Brendan Behan

At 31, Brendan Behan had been drinking for 23 years, had spent seven years in jail, had tried to kill two gardaí, and had written one hit play. At 41, he was dead. Behan was the classic case of the Irish writer destroyed by drink and demons. Though his literary reputation was built on the… read more +

Flann O’Brien’s unfinished saga

Two years after Flann O’Brien penned the obituary for his one-time drinking companion, Brendan Behan, O’Brien too was dead. Behan and O’Brien were two of “a generation of Irish writers who plunged themselves recklessly into the lotus-eating atmosphere of Dublin pubbery,” as Ulick O’Connor put it. Along with Patrick Kavanagh, they effectively drank themselves to… read more +

From the Quare Land: John McManus

Here’s a piece of advice they won’t tell you on a creative writing degree course: “Being a plasterer is a good job if you want to write plays.” But then, John McManus is not a very conventional playwright. He doesn’t read plays. He’s barely seen any. (Ten, in his life, he thinks.) He hasn’t studied… read more +

Theatre: Lost in the bog with Deirdre Kinahan

Deirdre Kinahan was walking in the bog near her home in Meath one morning when a flash of colour caught her eye. The bog is a vast expanse of dark browns and purples and blues, and the bright colours seemed incongruous. She approached, and saw that they were flowers. Attached to the flowers was a… read more +

Mike Daisey’s theatre of protest

Mike Daisey’s bid to understand the global financial crisis took him not to the heart of Wall St, or the City of London, or the hedge fund mecca of Dublin’s IFSC, but to a tiny volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific. The story of how, and why, he got there makes up what… read more +