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Theatre reviews, interviews and features from Ireland and elsewhere

Irish theatre, child abuse, and The Kiss

“Inside the mind of a paedophile,” said the headline last Sunday. 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 within me… read more +

The Evidence I Shall Give at the Abbey

One day at the dawn of the 1960s, a remarkable script landed on the desk of the director of the Abbey Theatre, Ernest Blythe. Blythe was in his 70s. He had retired from politics almost 30 years earlier, and had been managing director of the Abbey for 20. His was a staid directorship, and the… read more +

Review: Macbeth at the Abbey

‘Macbeth’ is the everyman’s tragedy. He lacks the nobility of Othello, the intellect of Hamlet, the authority of Lear. He is Shakespeare’s premonition of Tony Soprano – always in slightly above his head, struggling to catch up, resorting to horrific violence in a bid to assert himself over a fate he can’t quite master. For… read more +

Dublin’s new Grand Canal Theatre: a public-private partnership

They say you need your bad luck to strike during the dress rehearsal, at the latest. The dress rehearsal for Swan Lake went smoothly. On opening night, over 2,000 people mingled in the foyer and bars of the new Grand Canal Theatre, celeb-spotting or simply being celebs. The staff, who had been practicing their drills… read more +

The authenticity of Macbeth

Aged 16, I got my break in the theatre. Playing a broom carrier in the school production of Macbeth, I arrived for the performance to find myself promoted. A classmate had fallen ill. My new role was that of the Captain in the second scene: gravely wounded from battle, he reports to King Duncan how… read more +

Interview with playwright Michael Harding

Michael Harding was going to be a priest. It was the era of Vatican II, of liberation theology, or worker priests pursuing social justice. The church, he thought, was the place to be. He was already, by passion, a writer. Aged 14, he was given a manual typewriter by his uncle, and knew that was… read more +

Review: Swan Lake at the new Grand Canal Theatre

The gleaming new Grand Canal Theatre in the Docklands may have a kitsch extravagance to it (notably in the outdoor lighting), but it does what it’s supposed to, and does it superbly: the sightlines are excellent, the auditorium a fine blend of tradition and technology, the towering proscenium arch beautifully set. After the indignities of… read more +

Olwen Fouere in Sodome, my love

Olwen Fouéré is even more beautiful in person. Sitting in tracksuit and cardigan in a light-filled dance studio in Dublin, hurriedly eating a packed lunch, the French-Irish actress exudes a warmth and charisma that belies the often aloof, statuesque roles she plays on stage.

Eamon Morrissey & ‘Philadelphia, Here I Come!’

The first week of the Dublin Theatre Festival of 1964 was largely a bleak affair. Reviews in the English papers were mostly negative, and Irish theatre faced “a scramble to survive”, warned the playwright Eugene McCabe.

Review: Christ Deliver Us! by Thomas Kilroy

Thomas Kilroy’s new play for the Abbey is an awkward work, marred by obviousness and by the tired, cumbersome conceit of relying on twentysomethings to play fifteen-year-olds. And yet it is also a foundation myth for 21st century Ireland, eschewing the minor notes of nuance in favour of the major chords of sweeping social drama…. read more +