The Last Return at Dublin's Gate Theatre

Druid’s world premiere production of Sonya Kelly’s The Last Return comes to the Gate Theatre for Dublin Theatre Festival 2022

Monday 18 July 2022

Druid today announced that their world premiere production of Sonya Kelly’s new play The Last Return will run at the Gate Theatre at part of this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival, from 13 October to 5 November. The Last Return has already begun a sell-out run at Galway International Arts Festival and will next tour to Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

The Last Return is a thrilling comedy about conflict, peace and the pursuit of territory at any cost. One final night. One last chance. Five people queue for a ticket to the hottest show in town. All they must do is simply wait in line. But what in life is ever simple? Who will triumph, who will fail, and who will walk away with… The Last Return?

Critics have roundly praised this new Irish play: The Irish Times called it ‘a shocking and very funny play’; The Guardian described it as ‘pitch black comic mayhem’; it’s the ‘hottest ticket in town’ according to The Sunday Independent; The Irish Independent said that ‘Sonya Kelly establishes herself as a major Irish playwright’; The Business Post praised it as ‘shocking and side-splitting’; The Arts Review claimed that ‘you’d be insane to miss this hilarious, thought-provoking production’; and The Connacht Tribune commended it as ‘mad and caustically brilliant’.

Following the success of Furniture (2018) and Once Upon a Bridge (2021), The Last Return marks the third time Druid has premiered a new work by the acclaimed playwright. The Last Return has already earned playwright Sonya Kelly a nomination for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, while Once Upon a Bridge was nominated for Best New Play at the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards in 2021, and Furniture won the Stewart Parker Trust Award in 2019.

Sara Joyce (Once Upon a Bridge) directs a cast that includes Anna Healy, Bosco Hogan, Fionn Ó Loingsigh and Naima Swaleh. The creative team features Druid’s long-term collaborator Francis O’Connor (set and costume design), Amy Mae (lighting design) and Michael John McCarthy (sound design and composition).

Playwright Sonya Kelly: ‘Inspired by a chillingly hostile afternoon I once spent queueing for theatre tickets, The Last Return is not only a play about a play, but an absurdist meditation on the justification of human conflict, and how far we are prepared to go in the pursuit of what we desire. I am thrilled to be back with Druid for a third time and to have The Last Return run at the Gate Theatre, in my hometown.’

Garry Hynes, Druid’s Artistic Director: ‘I am delighted that Dublin audiences will get to experience The Last Return which has just opened in Galway and will soon to tour to Edinburgh before arriving at the Gate Theatre. Sonya’s work speaks to our hearts and our minds and gives us a right laugh along the way. I am also thrilled to continue Druid’s relationship with the Gate Theatre and to work with its new Artistic Director, Róisín McBrinn, and new Executive Director, Colm O'Callaghan.’

Róisín McBrinn, incoming Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre: ‘The Gate Theatre is very proud to present Sonya Kelly’s new play, The Last Return, from October 13. Sonya is one of Ireland’s most talented and engaging writers, and we are delighted that her new play forms the next chapter in our association with Druid. We look forward to welcoming the company to the Gate following their runs in Galway and Edinburgh and to bringing this exceptional work to Gate audiences.’