(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 12/12.)

You could argue, with The Importance of Being Earnest at the Gate and You Never Can Tell at the Abbey, that our two major theatres are playing host to a 120-year-old grudge match. Or, at least, the evidence of a curiously prickly friendship.

Between 1895 and 1897 two of Ireland’s most celebrated writers created fascinatingly similar plays. Both are comedies about love and society, shifting identities and missing parents. Both were embroidered with political details and allusions to modern life. But they were by writers who were otherwise slow to claim common ground, and who split opinion.


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