Rave reviews for DruidMurphy following London opening at weekend

Seamus O’Grady (Druid chairman), Dr Jim Browne (president NUI Galway), Mrs Sabina Higgins, President Michael D Higgins, Tom Murphy (playwright), Garry Hynes (artistic director, Druid), Edward Hall (artistic director, Hampstead Theatre) at the DruidMurphy London opening at Hampstead Theatre on Saturday June 23. The opening was co-hosted by Druid and NUI Galway. Photo Joanne O’Brien

Seamus O’Grady (Druid chairman), Dr Jim Browne (president NUI Galway), Mrs Sabina Higgins, President Michael D Higgins, Tom Murphy (playwright), Garry Hynes (artistic director, Druid), Edward Hall (artistic director, Hampstead Theatre) at the DruidMurphy London opening at Hampstead Theatre on Saturday June 23. The opening was co-hosted by Druid and NUI Galway. Photo Joanne O’Brien

DruidMurphy, Druid’s magnificent and triumphant staging of three of Tom Murphy’s finest plays, has gone down a storm in London and had theatre critics singing its praises.

DruidMurphy, featuring Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark, and Famine, opened in London’s Hampstead Theatre last Saturday as part of the London 2012 Festival.

All three plays were staged on the day which began at 1.30pm and finished at 10.30pm. Guest of honour at the London premiere was the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, with his wife Sabina, to attend the DruidMurphy cycle day. He was joined by Galway and Irish guests from the worlds of theatre, business, the media, sport and academia.

The plays, directed by Garry Hynes, and featuring a strong cast - with Eileen Walsh, Niall Buggy, and Aaron Monaghan in particular, producing outstanding performances - have met with glowing reviews.

The Daily Telegraph gave the production five stars and described it as “faultless” and added “attendance should be obligatory”. The Guardian declared it a “richly rewarding event”.

The Times was similarly enthusiastic, saying DruidMurphy is “truly epic, broad of scope, its insight profound, its clear-sightedness both cruel and compassionate.” The Financial Times said there were “no weak links in Druid’s production” and that Tom Murphy is “the greatest dramatist writing in English”.

That last assessment was also echoed by President Higgins, speaking after the event.

“Tom Murphy is one of the greatest living playwrights writing in the English language,” he said. “The powerful themes of these plays of emigration, loss, and the devastation of life and culture are dealt with by Tom Murphy in a language that soars through Irish history.

“Their themes, while universal, in every production and period strike a new resonance. The partnership of Tom Murphy and Druid, an internationally renowned and respected Irish theatre company, is brilliant.”

Druid artistic director Garry Hynes said she was “very proud of the inspirational work” the 36 strong cast, crew, and design team members put into DruidMurphy.

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