News Ticker

John Keating

The Plough and the Stars

May 7, 2019

The Irish Repertory Theatre ends its thirtieth season by going back to the beginning, with a sturdy revival of Sean O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars." An historical prequel to the other two plays in O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy, it was also the Irish Rep's inaugural production, a daring choice that essentially served as an artistic mission statement, signalling a commitment not to shy away from Ireland's ever-contested past. [more]

Juno and the Paycock

April 12, 2019

From this group of familiar faces, O'Reilly and Keating are particularly strong in their second go-around, finding notes in Jack and Joxer's codependent relationship that are both hilarious and hideous. With his almost sneering delivery of Joxer's obsequious and vowel-rich responses ("it's a darlin' funeral, a daarlin' funeral"), Keating's performance is especially brilliant, pitched just before the point when servility turns into hate. As for Jack, O'Reilly brushes aside his litany of faults to make him a first-rate charmer, capable of snatching a smile from Juno even after he's brought the overburdened woman to her wit's end. [more]

The Shadow of a Gunman

February 21, 2019

Director Ciarán O’Reilly handles O'Casey's abrupt tonal shifts well, transitioning from laughter to tears to horror with barely a hint of contrivance. A top-notch production team greatly aids O’Reilly's quest for authenticity, turning the performance space into an impressive simulacrum of war-torn Dublin. Leading the effort is Charlie Corcoran whose incredibly detailed set spreads out into the audience, where a gloomy, ramshackle corridor deposits theatergoers into seats bracketed by crumbling brick walls and overhung with clotheslines burdened by the tenants' latest washings. [more]

The Naturalists

September 12, 2018

Ms. McCarrick’s appealing premise of redemptive romance is in fact subsidiary to the IRA angle as in the program she states that this event is the inspiration for her play. The two threads haven’t been skillfully fused together, resulting in a disjointed experience totaling 13 scenes.  McCarrick packs in a great deal of backstory to her well-drawn characters and her effective dialogue is marvelously Irish in style with plenty of wit, eloquence and reflectiveness. [more]

Rebel in the Soul

April 23, 2017

If this all sounds a bit over-intellectual, well, so is the play. Though the intelligent script may be based on real people, they are forever describing themselves--and each other--in ways that real people never do. Think about practically any play by George Bernard Shaw, and you begin to get the picture. (Archbishop McQuaid even says, “I do find political theory most compelling.”) And although Moore, as director, has done much to compensate for the tiny stage space on which the expansive story unfolds--particularly with helpful projections by Chris Kateff and a cramped but effective set by John McDermott--she isn’t abetted very much by her actors. [more]

Public Enemy

October 16, 2016

Ibsen’s "An Enemy of the People" is a classic of modern drama but at times it can seem musty in a poor translation. David Harrower’s "Public Enemy" is not only a shrewd, accessible adaptation, it also makes clear the contemporary relevance of the dangers of the herd instinct in a seemingly just society. The Pearl Theatre Company production is a must-see for all good citizens, particularly in these perilous times. [more]

When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout

April 21, 2016

You might wonder why Morag, Fiona’s mother, in Sharman Macdonald’s groundbreaking Scottish play, "When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout," is so repressive about sex. What the program doesn’t tell you about this play having its Off Broadway premiere at the Clurman Theatre is that it was first produced in 1984 in London and that the daughter’s childhood goes back to the fifties when female sexuality was frowned upon. Then it becomes obvious that this play is now a period piece dealing with a time when feelings about female sexuality were changing but the older generation was still stuck on the other side of the divide with the teachings of their childhood. While the play seems to be two generations behind the times, what the play continues to be is a blistering portrait of a toxic mother-daughter relationship. [more]

Pericles (Theatre for a New Audience)

March 7, 2016

Nunn’s adaptation rearranges some of the scenes and adds material from a prose version of the work by George Wilkins, believed to be Shakespeare’s collaborator. Using music, song, dancing, jousting and a veritable rainbow of colorful costumes, he has created an epic-sized revival that is always eye-filling and easy to follow. While some of the acting is uneven in this large cast of 29 including seven members of the Pigpen Theater Co., it must be said that this is not one of Shakespeare’s best plays as it makes use of unexpected events, many locations, and a large canvas, rather than psychological depth and deathless poetry. [more]

The Weir

July 13, 2015

Mr. McPherson has written a rich and engrossing play that is appealing in it’s well-crafted simplicity. Each of the five commonplace characters is precisely drawn with biographical details expertly imparted throughout. They all speak in an authentic flavorful Irish manner. The narrative conceit of people reminiscing about past interactions with apparitions is rendered with a matter-of-fact quality and total believability. The beauty of the play is in its depiction of the inner lives and honest exclamations of these small town folk that only gets expressed through their fanciful storytelling. [more]

Da

January 23, 2015

This finely constructed memory piece is characterized by comedy and melancholy. Overcoming parental dysfunction is it’s universal theme. It’s rendered with complexity, as the characters are often shown at their most vindictive but also with their good qualities that they often repress. The dialogue is crisp and filled with mordant Irish wit. [more]