And, like God, I was pleased

A wonderful article in the Guardian Arts section by Colm Tóibín, celebrating the work of Galway-born writer Tom Murphy – “The nearest thing we have to genius” – whose Alice Trilogy opens tomorrow at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Tóibín notes the rejection, by the Abbey Theatre of Murphy’s first play, A Whistle in the Dark, a rejection that was accompanied by an “abusive letter for portraying the Irish in England in such a dark light”, and Murphy’s subsequent advisory role, in the 1970s, to the Catholic Church in finding a new language for the mass. Interesting, too, to read of his working rituals and on his own plays – “I think they are living things.. I learn from actors.”

  • I remember reviewing Bailegangaire a couple of years back as part of a season of his work at The Abbey. It’s a very charged play and his female characters are very strong, emotional women. Murphy is probably our greatest living dramatist.

  • Pete Baker


    Would that review be available online?

  • I wasn’t sure it would still be there as it’s hard to locate stuff in the RTE archive, but surprisingly it is.
    Can’t believe it’s four years ago either…

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks, Sinéad. That archive’s a pain alright.

  • P Ring

    I’ve booked to see Tom Murphy’s Alice Trilogy at the Royal Court which is the only theatre where you can almost guarantee (I stress almost) to not be bored or irritated or baffled or all three. My most recent theatre outing was to see a Belfast play called Shoot the Crows by Owen McCafferty. This was as banal and facile as anything I’ve seen and if I’d stayed in and checked reruns of 70’s comedies on UK Gold I’d have been in the same area. Of course it got great reviews in that anything from the North that’s not about politics is regarded here in London as being a major anthropological triumph.
    I agree that Tom Murphy is a genuinely amazing dramatist and I recall Druid theatre company from Galway presenting his Conversations on a Homecoming. Utterly sublime.