New York | 2h 15m | Ends Jun 21

Juno and the Paycock

From 16 critic and 34 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Entertaining, Profound

About the show

Sean O’Casey’s 1924 drama offers a devastating portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish Civil War. Get prime orchestra seats for only $55 (regularly $70) when you buy a Show-Score Select! More…

Jack Boyle is out of work and determined to stay that way. He postures and drinks with his sidekick Joxer while his long-suffering wife Juno struggles to support their family and maintain their dilapidated tenement flat. Their son Johnny, crippled fighting in the revolution, cowers indoors to avoid the bitter new civil war, while his sister Mary considers her options for the future. When a handsome visitor arrives with news of an inheritance, the family begins to plan their new life, but their apparent salvation soon reveals itself to be the cause of their ruin.

New York Stage Review

"Superb, searing revival...'Juno‘'s second act, under Neil Pepe’s stringent but deeply compassionate direction, both excruciating and mesmerizing...Flawless ensemble...By the end of 'Juno‘s' third and final act—its last two scenes punctuated by a harrowing pause that Pepe allows to linger painfully—the party is over for all the Boyles.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“’Juno and the Paycock’ highlights an even stronger O'Casey, a writer ever more sure of his footing and able to align comedy and tragedy, having them walk hand-in-hand next to each other...Plunkett, who plays Juno, not only holds the play together as the character, but as an actress she creates a foundation and a present strength that anchors the production and is a lifeline for the audience through all the tumult. See the production just for her acting if nothing else.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"As expected of any production at this invaluable institution, the accents, atmosphere, and emotional atmosphere of 1922 Dublin are captured with loving authenticity…Pepe's production, to a satisfying degree, captures this complex world, in which booze, dancing, and singing mingle with pain, anguish, and suffering, belief does battle with skepticism, and human decency, ever in short supply, gleams like the full moon when it emerges…Ciarán O'Reilly excels…Maryann Plunkett is superb." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“It is a work both delicate in its structure and brutal in its implications, a heartbreaking comedy set against a bitter background of sectarian violence, a play that seems to contain an entire tumultuous world...One of the most remarkable things about Pepe's production is how it captures the way in which hilarity tumbles headlong into heartbreak...Many members of the supporting cast deliver colorful and incisive performances that capture the heartbeat of working-class lives." Full Review


"It isn't one of those classics that trigger the directorial urge to give any revival an edgy new interpretation...O'Casey's blend of humor and intense tragedy add to its enduring power to entertain and move audiences...'Juno and the Paycock’ is especially relevant...Plunkett is magnificent...Only someone with a heart of stone will fail to be deeply moved when Juno, after two hours of emotional restraint, burst out with a heart-wrenching cry." Full Review


"Performed by a dynamic cast led by O'Reilly and Plunkett, Pepe's take feels fresh and relevant while remaining faithful to O' Casey's nearly 100-year-old play...Pepe gives the play a thrilling jolt of realism in a handful of tense, shouty scenes between Juno and her son and husband that take place offstage in an inner room, making us feel as though we're listening to real-life arguments of the family next door. It's a brave directorial choice, but the cast carries it out brilliantly." Full Review

Carole Di Tosti

"O’Casey’s work is populated by singular characters whose flawed humanity rings with truth and tragedy...This very identification with this family makes the conclusion of O’Casey’s work all the more tragic and heart-wrenching...Tension is carefully, subtly wrought by Pepe’s staging and his precise shepherding of the actors...The production shines in the cast’s rendering of O’Casey’s searing portraits of the Dublin tenement-dwellers and their relationships with each other." Full Review

Simon SEEZ

"What Sean O’Casey’s political tragicomedy 'Juno and the Paycock' lacks in plot, it makes up for in characterization. Under Neil Pepe’s splendid direction for the Irish Repertory Theatre, characterization gets its due...It remains for the virtuosity of O’Casey’s writing to take us from boisterous comedy to dispiriting situations, to tragic results, and yet leave us with a sense of the heroic." Full Review


"With his almost sneering delivery of Joxer's obsequious and vowel-rich responses ('it's a darlin' funeral, a daarlin' funeral'), Keating's performance is especially brilliant, pitched just before the point when servility turns into hate. As for Jack, O'Reilly brushes aside his litany of faults to make him a first-rate charmer, capable of snatching a smile from Juno even after he's brought the overburdened woman to her wit's end." Full Review

Theater Time

"Sean O' Casey's 'Juno and the Paycock' is one of the highlights of this current season...Both funny and strikingly moving in so many ways...The large and brilliant cast abetted by Neil Pepe's strong direction makes this one not to be missed." Full Review

New York Stage Review

“IRT is now offering something resembling a revival of a revival...The cast features several actors repeating their 2013-14 performances...O’Casey creates so many of the ‘Juno and the Paycock’ figures with broad yet subtle strokes of his pen that they’re marvels for actors to take on. The returning players here must have been overjoyed to have another go at them...Well-done productions confirm first-rate writing. This 'Juno and the Paycock' hits that high mark.” Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"Jack has the flashiest part, and Mr. O’Reilly, who also played him in 2013, is equally fine this time around...Nevertheless, it is the actor who plays Juno on whose stooped shoulders rests the ultimate success of any revival of 'Juno and the Paycock,' and Ms. Plunkett is more than equal to the challenge...Once again, you come away feeling not that you’ve just seen a play but that you spent the evening eavesdropping on a roomful of real people." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Starts out as a domestic comedy before evolving into the stuff of Gaelic tragedy...Under the meticulously calibrated direction of Neil Pepe, this production is a gem of Irish realism, expertly transitioning from humorous banter to life-altering epiphanies. The production’s evocative design and lived-in performances...bolster the verisimilitude...As the Boyles struggle to survive in a world where politics and religion aim to keep them down, their potent emotions are self-explanatory." Full Review

Third Coast Review

“A family story that will make you laugh and shed a tear; it’s superbly performed by a cast of many Irish Rep regulars and directed with care...The play explores the joys and sorrows, the rise and fall, of a poor Dublin family...Pepe directs an outstanding cast. Both O’Reilly and Plunkett shine as the Captain and Juno. Ed Malone, who plays Tommy Owen, a silly character, in ‘The Shadow of a Gunman’, is a believably angry man as Johnny.” Full Review

Stage Voices

“A hard and beautiful play, and Pepe’s staging is lovely...Pepe dilutes or Americanizes his 'Juno and the Paycock' by seeing the work as a middle-class play, as opposed to a working-class one, or directly, as one about abject poverty...Even in a production that normalizes despair, O’Casey’s keening shrouds the eyes in mist.” Full Review

Broadway & Me

"Neil Pepe, who has a day job as artistic director of the Atlantic Theater Company, helmed the Rep’s production with varying success...This second installment struck me as wobblier than the first. The humor in the first act seemed forced and the tragedy in the second rushed. The accents became more labored, too...The saving grace was the vanity-free performance by Maryann Plunkett." Full Review

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if You want to see one is the best plays ever written.

Don't see it if You hate the world . This is life affirming.. Don’t miss if!

Funny and heartbreaking in equal measure, Great writing, Great acting

See it if / to see a great ensemble cast bring a family, in all their humanity, so vividly to life, you’ll feel like you have known them forever.

Don't see it if you can’t stand to see characters you have come to care about get smacked around by life. Juno’s final speech will break your heart.

Also As Joxer would say, this is a darlin’ show, a darlin’ show. If the oth... Read more Read less

Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a first-rate revival of Sean O'Casey's classic play. The ensemble cast, as well as Neal Pepe's direction is exquisite!

Don't see it if you do not enjoy classic Irish plays. But do see it—this is a very fine production.

Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a beautifully acted and directed revival of a great Sean O. Casey that made me laugh heartily until it made me cry.

Don't see it if You don’t like plays that delve into early 20th Century Irish history.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting

See it if Fantastic acting and staging. Gripping plot laced with humor and heartbreak. This play transports youvti 1922 Dublin tenants.

Don't see it if You don’t like period pieces, ensemble dramas, slower paced dialogue intensive works

Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Intense Irish family drama in a traditional early 20th century famkly. The usual drinking and male/female sterotypes. A period pice.

Don't see it if You want a fun time.

Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if You like Irish history and incredible acting and powerful writing.

Don't see it if If you get upset if you don’t get a happy ending

Great staging, Entertaining, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if family drama with humor & sadness that takes place in Dublin during Ireland's Civil War, great acting by Plunkett as strong woman*

Don't see it if don't like historical dramas (this takes place in 1922), Irish stories; don't want to see the human cost of war

Also *character (Juno) and O'Reilly as Boyle (the 'Paycock'). Keating also ... Read more Read less

Funny, Entertaining, Profound, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Excellent mounting of Sean O'Casey's most famous play. Directed by Neil Pepe, it's very well cast with Maryann Plunkett & Ciarán O'Reilly.

Don't see it if It's barely possible to find negative: perhaps O'Reilly's Capt. Boyle is a bit too puckish & Plunkett works v/ hard to rev-up the emotion.

Resonant, Profound, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Irish Rep's masterful revival scores across the board - writing, acting & staging on Corcoran's grand immersive set Pepe's direction stellar

Don't see it if O'Casey's lamentation on human foibles while not w/o humor is fairly bleak esp in context of Irish civil war but Plunkett & O'Reilly shine

Intelligent, Intense, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want to experience a totally satisfying production of a timeless classic done by a cast of exceptional actors

Don't see it if You have trouble with accents and historical drama...even with humor

Cliched, Tragic, Masterful, Funny, Resonant

See it if Family drama with O'Casey's colorful characters. Family does better when coming into money & falls apart when not. Strong acting.

Don't see it if O'Casey's use of the Book of Job paradigm may have been fresh in 1925, but this is the third Job play I've seen in the past year.

Great acting, Relevant, Tragically irish, Humorously irish, Historical

See it if you are a fan of traditional Irish plays dealing with the turbulent history of Irish independence, especially as seen through female roles.

Don't see it if you feel you have "seen enough" of the topic. While this production is masterfully done, it is predictable and not a new take on the story.

Great acting, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if Very good rendition of this classic Irish play. Acting was wonderful and the 2 hours just flew by.

Don't see it if You have no interest in Irish plays.

Great opportunity to see a classic play, Required concentration, Excellent performances

See it if You enjoy Irish drama or want to become more acquainted.

Don't see it if You wish to see something funny.

Also I take every opportunity to see Maryann Plunkett in something! Here, s... Read more Read less

Epic, Great writing, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if you’re interested in rags-to-riches-to-rags stories. This play is rich in character and features eye-catching, immersive scenic design.

Don't see it if you have trouble with accents. I didn’t quite catch all the dialogue at the beginning, but it eventually all sunk in.

Profound, Great acting, Funny, Delightful, Clever

See it if You want to see a family drama with a few big twists. A story of no inheritance and family secrets. Very riveting to the end.

Don't see it if You do not like dramas. You don’t like sad endings

Well staged, Shifting tones, Strong acting, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy solid, old-fashioned plays. Well drawn chars, interesting plot, hist'l backdrop, Humor and pathos. Nice set. Lovely accents.

Don't see it if you hate misogyny. Women in 1922 were mistreated. W are strong, intellig, loving, capable. Desertion is the only escape. Support ea other.

Also O'Casey draws wonderful, memorable characters. The plotting in JUNO is... Read more Read less

Great acting, Tragic, Entertaining

See it if you are seeing O'Casey's trilogy at Irish Rep. Sad, but interesting to see exploration​ of this historical moment.

Don't see it if you are not feeling​ empathetic for this kind of tragedy.

Surprisingly topical despite stereotypes

See it if fine acting - particularly O'Reilly & Plunkett - in a rarely produced "period" piece of Irish writing is of interest. You want more O'Casey.

Don't see it if slowly paced, often stereotype heavy characters, and too familiar Irish political strife are not of interest to you. Not O'Casey's best.

Cliched, Uneven, though juno and paycock were splendidly acted., Some great acting, some just fair., Sit further back., I sat in the first row, that acting... they were so dam loud and over the top,,,, i wanted them to simmer down! ;)

See it if Too over the top. A classic, but it felt a bit deafening, at times. Some great, some poor acting styles.

Don't see it if Often loud yet saddening dramas are not for you. Sit further back.

Thrilling theatre!

See it if I saw the Abbey's production decades ago and this was far superior. Brilliant acting and direction of a profound and funny classic play.

Don't see it if you only like musicals and have no interest in anything Irish.

Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like classic irish plays and are a fan of the irish rep theater's presentations of historical and important irish thened plays

Don't see it if you don't like minimal staging in a small venue

Entertaining, Great acting, Funny

See it if You're interested in Irish history and value top notch acting and belly laughs.

Don't see it if You've no interest in 20th Century British history.

Thought-provoking, Profound, Intense, Great writing, Funny

See it if Juno and the Paycock is the most accessible of Sean O’Casey’s plays. And he was a serious writer, highly- regarded in his time.

Don't see it if Don’t see it if you are impatient and want nothing but jazzy production numbers.

Cast & Creatives (22)