Skip to Content


Theatre reviews, interviews and features from Ireland and elsewhere

Truckers, gamers & Rimini Protokoll

What do a pair of Bulgarian truckers and a female Indian call-centre worker have in common? And what have they got to do with the theatre? They were three of the most disarming performers I’ve seen in recent years. And they were brought to the Dublin stage by the same theatre company, an intriguing German… read more +

David McWilliams: An outsider at the theatre

There was a scrum outside the entrance to the Abbey Theatre, but it wasn’t for tickets. There were raised voices, and a knot of people pushed against the glass doors. It looked like it could get ugly. But it was simply the free market in action. At the centre of the group, a man was… read more +

Handbags, Hollywood and Wilde

One of the most famous lines in theatre is just two words long: “A handbag?” It comes early in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a masterpiece of comic wordplay and barbed social satire. (For review of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Gaiety, see here.) And yet the line isn’t particularly funny,… read more +

How Stoppard got rich, and the Gate got Stoppard

Tom Stoppard spent his twenties broke, smoking and trying to write. He had a series of lowly newspaper jobs, and then went freelance, or “self-unemployed.” He was a theatre critic and, briefly, “the only motoring correspondent in the country who couldn’t drive.” He sent scripts to the BBC, and they commissioned him to write a… read more +

From Brazil to Temple Bar: Theatre of the Oppressed

The theatre director was a young idealist, and he wanted to change the world. He brought his theatre group to a rural village, where the people were mired in poverty. In the village square, they put on a play. It was a simple fable of how the rich oppressed the poor. The village audience was… read more +

Exploring abuse: Michael Harding’s The Kiss

“Inside the mind of a paedophile,” said the headline last Sunday (May 2). The article, by the Sunday Tribune’s Ali Bracken, told the story of the serial abuse of children by the California-based Irish priest, Oliver O’Grady – in his own words. It was “the affection of the hugging,” that O’Grady particularly enjoyed; it “awakened… read more +

Review: Stockard Channing in Earnest

There are two things that Irish actors can’t do: verse, and class. When Rough Magic tackled The Taming of the Shrew two years ago, director Lynne Parker found a solution, of sorts, in a very Irish rendition of the play, roughing it up and embracing regional accents. Parker has done something similar with Wilde’s great… read more +

Review: Bernard Farrell’s Bookworms

Bernard Farrell launched his career over 30 years ago with a farce about six people at a group therapy session, I Do Not Like Thee Dr Fell. In Bookworms, literature has replaced therapy, but the form is the same, and so is the intent: to poke fun at the foibles of the age. The book… read more +

Review: The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps is a classic adventure novel by John Buchan, and an early but influential thriller by Alfred Hitchcock, and now a witty stage play paying irreverent homage to both. Richard Hannay is the dashing, pencil-moustached hero, unwittingly caught up in an espionage adventure when he tries to protect a beautiful, mysterious foreign agent… read more +

The Theatre Upstairs: Au revoir

Karl Shiels is a broken man. It wasn’t the six-month, unpaid labour of love installing Dublin’s newest fringe theatre, the Theatre Upstairs at the Plough pub on Abbey St, that broke him. The excitement in the theatre community and rave reviews had long since repaid that. It wasn’t the bleak midwinter, when burst pipes cut… read more +