Tag Archive: Irish Theatre

Philadelphia, Here I Come! By Brian Friel at Donmar Warehouse

The old sod. No one ever asked for Delta blues to be any sadder or Irish drama to be any more Irish. As art it feels totally transparent. You get the impression that the scripts are achieved by walking down any Dublin street with a tape recorder, and the casts tumble out of a city bus at the back door of the next theater. This naturalness has the effect, strange as it sounds, of making the whole audience feel Irish by intermission. I thought I heard people around me saying “boyo,” “mammy,” and “What are you blatherin’ on about?”

Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane at The Young Vic

Desperate measures. Because anarchy and rebellion are the brutal threads that run through modern Irish history, you’d expect the same from its literature. But the greatest Irish writers going back to Yeats and Joyce have avoided Soviet-style social realism. Some have kept their distance from Ireland altogether, including London-born Martin McDonagh, the greatest writer about the Troubles who never experienced them first hand. They are the toxic air he breathed from a distance but still choked on.