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The Government Inspector at the Abbey Theatre (Review)

Jimmy Fay’s version of The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui was one of the highlights of the past few years at the Abbey, so seeing the director handle Nokolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector is an interesting premise. While Fay handles the play wonderfully well, with a (mostly) solid cast and superb staging choices, I can’t help but feel that Roddy Doyle’s translation of the play is just a bit “on the nose”, striving for a bit of forced relevance with countless references to “brown paper envelopes.” Perhaps the best indication of the show comes from the wonderful inset in the programme, illustrated in a pleasant enough style by Irish Times cartoonist M. Turner – a mock-up cut-out selection that includes mock-up heads of Bertie Ahern and Charlie Haughey. One senses that the production might have had a bit more bite a few years back.

Family values...

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Pygmalion at the Abbey Theatre (Review)

I think it’s safe to say that George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion has had quite the impact on popular culture. Even those unfamiliar with the original 1912 play written by the great Irish playwright will know the basic structure of the story, filtered down through countless reruns of My Fair Lady and She’s All That. It’s hard to argue that anything in Shaw’s impressive back catalogue is quite as crowd-pleasing, but never at the expense of being sharp and provocative. The fact that it’s turning out to be next-to-impossible to get a seat at the Abbey’s run of the play indicates that the work has lost none of its appeal.

Doolittle doctored?

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The Passing at the Abbey Theatre (Review)

The Passing is one of the new plays from Paul Mercier playing at the Abbey, alternating with Mercier’s other new work, East Pier. The Passing is essentially a story about how disconnected we’ve grown as a nation, out of touch with one another, and our roots. It’s the type of reflection that one sees frequently these days, so it seems reasonable to expect any material covering the theme to try to approach it in a novel or an interesting way. Instead, The Passing is just about passable as an exploration of social isolation in 21st century Ireland.

Pass on this one?

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MacBeth at the Abbey Theatre

Myself and the better half had the pleasure of taking in a show in the national theatre last night. Director Jimmy Fay has brought Shakespeare’s MacBeth, the play known in the industry as “the Scottish play”, to the stage. I studied MacBeth in secondary school, as one of the big four tragedies. I would have rather studied Othello or Hamlet, but at least it wasn’t King Lear. We had high hopes in settling into our seats for the full performance – Fay had brought The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui to the stage only last year in a show that remains perhaps my favourite of all the plays I have seen at the Abbey. Did MacBeth live up to those expectations?

"Something wicked this way comes..."

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