DruidSynge: Five Stars

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Five Stars

By Ian Kilroy The Irish Examiner Monday 18 July 2005

DIRECTOR Garry Hynes has long planned to mount all the works of JM Synge in a single, sweeping production. In DruidSynge she does just that, and in the process creates an unforgettable day of theatre.

Starting at 2pm on Saturday with Riders to the Sea, the company presented us with The Tinker’s Wedding, The Well of the Saints and The Shadow of the Glen, before a dinner break — al fresco, under the rare Galway sunshine. The Playboy of the Western World and Deirdre of the Sorrows brought the day to a close at 10.30pm, and left few unmoved by the singular achievement of this writer.

Played against the same basic set throughout, the plays, seen all together for the first time, had their similarities and recurring themes become apparent.

Like alternate jigs and laments, they brought us from the searing tragedy of Riders to the Sea and Deirdre, to the joyous, plentiful visions that are The Tinker’s Wedding and elements of The Playboy and The Shadow of the Glen. From an excellent ensemble, Marie Mullen and Aaron Monaghan deserve special mention. Mullen must be one of our finest actors, while the young Monaghan has the potential to grow to that stature.

If theatre must be an event now to capture the public imagination, then DruidSynge is a theatre event par excellence. From Galway it goes on to Dublin and Edinburgh — and expect it to go on and on from there.

Garry Hynes has made her mark interpreting Synge over many years. Never has she reached so near perfection. By returning to the source of her achievement, she has found Synge’s well full of sweet water.