Rory Nolan and Marty Rea in Druid’s Three Short Comedies by Seán O’Casey. Photo by Ste Murray.

(Ciara L. Murphy’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 12/20.)

Under Garry Hynes’ direction, Druid bring a wide and eccentric range of characters to life

THREE SHORT COMEDIES BY SEÁN O’CASEY

National Opera House, Wexford
★★★★☆

Druid theatre company has brought three of Seán O’Casey’s short comedies to life in a multifaceted and high-energy production. A Pound on Demand (1939), Bedtime Story (1951) and The End of the Beginning (1937) deliver light relief amid the pandemic gloom of this Christmas season.

Seldom seen on the Irish stage, these one-act comedies are a departure from the early-20th-century politics for which O’Casey’s plays are better known. Instead these succinct performances focus on the everyday comings and goings of a wide array of characters (in the most Irish sense of the word).

These performances offer observations on authoritarianism, religious conservatism and the folly of “keeping up appearances” while delivering scathing (and wildly entertaining) commentaries on the various failures and vagaries of the (relatively new) independent Irish State. Fans of O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy will recognise his signature dark humour and sharp social criticism amid the farcical elements of this production.

Francis O’Connor’s effective and inventive set design offers a recognisable image of 20th-century realism

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