The Plough and the Stars: Theatre Royal Bath
The Plough and the Stars
Theatre Royal Bath
It is from the history books that we mostly find out about the complicated politics of Ireland. But if we want to learn about the effect of those politics on ordinary people then Sean O'Casey is our man.
Soon after this play opened in 1926 there were riots in the theatre over what was perceived as the antiheroic aspects of the 1916 Easter Rising depicted in the play. Police were called in as members of the audience stormed on stage to attack the cast.
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This production comes from that same theatre – not physically the same as it burned down in the fifties – but at a time when O'Casey and his beautiful language are regarded as one of the great treasures of the western world.
As with Shakespeare it takes a few minutes to get into the language and as with Shakespeare we are then presented with a whole world of emotions, ideas and possibilities.
Abbey Theatre has been performing this play for decades but here is comes as fresh, interesting and totally absorbing as if it had been newly minted.
The harrowing detail of it all leaves us speechless as we leave the theatre except really to ask ourselves, as we often do when we leave great performances at the Theatre Royal, just how much we have all learned in three quarters of a century. Sadly, the answer almost always seems to be, not very much.
Great stuff, from a great writer, beautifully performed. It runs until Saturday.