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Little Gem

From 102 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Slow

About the show

Equal parts comic and poignant, Irish playwright Elaine Murphy’s debut play about three generations of North Dublin women won the top prize at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008. More…

From the show:
One year can bring extraordinary change; just ask Amber, Lorraine, and Kay, three generations of North Dublin women who find themselves suddenly facing the unexpected. Young Amber’s case of indigestion – or perhaps it’s a brutal hangover? – grows into something more, while her mother Lorraine discovers salsa dancing after an incident at work leads to therapist-suggested self-care. Grandmother Kay, on the wrong side of sixty, but not dead yet, struggles to take care of a personal itch while adjusting to life as a caretaker for her beloved Gem. As the year moves forward, the women confront their individual challenges with courage and humor, finding strength in one another and discovering the beauty and complexity of family.

Member Reviews (102)


Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Slow
Avg Score

Well acted, Slow, Banal, Not a "gem," but not a lump of coal

See it if you want run-of-the-mill entertainment. Don't want to think much; just laugh a bit. Superficial; easy resolns. Actors don't look related.

Don't see it if you want depth, insight. Teenager's baby sh not solve problems. Meh jokes (old lady/vibrator). Mason's accent uneven. Familial love prevails

Slow, Entertaining, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you like family themes. All great actresses and roles. Mason is so great!

Don't see it if you don't like plays that are mostly narrated and want interaction between the actors.

Also This was a very unique way to tell a good story. Gave the actors the o... Read more Read less

Funny, Slow, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Really Great performances, especially by Mason and an interesting way to tell the story. Has both serious and funny moments.

Don't see it if You dislike monologues. The play's is told through alternating monologues between the three women.

Interesting, Needs editing, Relevant, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You like one person monologue shows. This is basically three one person shows woven together in a clever way. It makes it more interesting.

Don't see it if You don’t like stories told from the woman’s point of view. It’s not at all a man hating show but it’s definitely the female perspective.

Also I liked this and I didn’t think the accents were any problem whatsoeve... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Intelligent, Clever

See it if Monologues of each character rather than dialogue between the actors. Accents are thick. Marsha Mason is very good in her role.

Don't see it if Very heavy accents though to pick up at times. Humor not that great. If you like dialogue in a play between actors.

Mundane, Corny, Sweet, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if 3 intersecting life-story monologues stress the essential solitude of life, even though people find solace in each other’s company.

Don't see it if The life stories are a bit mundane. Also, the challenges get resolved too easily & happily. The corny laughs fell flat for me.

Slow, Indulgent, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Three winning actresses lift this Irish family dramedy above a "1940's women's picture" territory often movingly carrying their story's arc

Don't see it if Takes a little time to line up the plot with the monologue structure & the humor can slide into treacle (sex toys, really?) but well played

Disappointing, Resonant, Confusing, Intelligent, Slow

See it if you'd enjoy a great performance by Mason and enjoy monologues that weave together among members of this Irish family.

Don't see it if you have difficulty with fast talking accents or are in the rear as O'Leary's voice does not carry, causing me to miss putting this together

Great acting, Touching, Funny, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy contemporary female-focused Irish plays, performances by Irish actors, fan of Marsha Mason, sleek story told in multiple voices

Don't see it if Not a fan of female-centric stories, if Irish accents throw you off, not a fan of Irish plays or modern issues or family tales

Intense, Intelligent, Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if you are interested in an exploration of interpersonal relationships in a specific culture. Written from each character's inner view.

Don't see it if you want conventionally structured dialog. Also you will need to pay careful attention because it's easy to lose some of the threads.

Deficient, Great acting, Entertaining, Banal, Absorbing

See it if Three Irish women, separated by generations, deliver monologues with serio-comic moments. Featuring the underappreciated Marsha Mason.

Don't see it if Mason, so at home on the stage, elevates the most deficient of material, and sadly, this tedium is no exemption. Six monologues each (18).

Also "Even now, after all this time, my Little Gem still surprises me."

Quirky, Slow, Funny, Entertaining

See it if Three women each doing a monologue at different time about themselves and family.

Don't see it if No real interact between women.

Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like to get inside people's heads. Monologues reveal each character's thoughts. Great acting especially Mason.

Don't see it if you like interaction between characters, you do not like to hear women's inner thoughts or have problems with Irish accents.

Also I recommend sitting close to the stage since the accents of the two yo... Read more Read less

Forgettable, Likable, Great acting, Slow, Sweet

See it if enjoy great acting, stories about functional families, getting to know an Irish family's 3 generations of women; wonderful Marsha Mason.

Don't see it if you prefer interaction rather than a series of monologues; middle of play drags, could use some editing; Mason's character has most depth.

Overrated, Entertaining, Ambitious, Slow

See it if you want to see a play made up of three woven-together stories. Brenda Meaney gives the most impressive performance.

Don't see it if you don't like plays that are made up of monologues. Also, this production is very slow moving.

It’s just monologues

See it if You like monologues and not a play where the characters interact with one another

Don't see it if You are expecting anything interesting to happen. When you really sit back and think about what just happened you realize it wasn’t much

Also I used to say I don’t like country music but now I just say I don’t un... Read more Read less

Well done. good story. good acting. a little hard to understand accent.

See it if You like a good family story.

Don't see it if You don’t like stories where everyone has a thick Irish accent.

Slow, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like multi-generational stories with laughs and heart.

Don't see it if You don't like monologues that are interwoven. I would have preferred a little more interaction between the characters.

Slow, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you enjoy intelligent, good acting.

Don't see it if you like action and find stories about women boring.

Entertaining, Touching moments, Funny moments, Great acting

See it if 3 generations of a family (all women) with alternating monologues; how the men have impacted their lives; family drama - Mason's most moving

Don't see it if want more interaction - the clinic setting seems to connect them more than familial ties

Ambitious, Slow

See it if You want to see 3 rather unexciting and monologues from 3 women in a family. Mundane stories for each.

Don't see it if You want to see an interactive story. Mother, Daughter, Granddaughter each tell a tale, but barely interact w/ each other.

Also The play is presented via monologues from the 3 women, but they never ... Read more Read less

Slow, Too much estrogen, Great acting, Born too late

See it if you enjoy female-driven plays with small casts, or if you really are into Irish plays or are a fan of one of the actresses.

Don't see it if heavily-accented shows are problematic for you, or if shows that are full of female issues are boring for you.

Clever, Great writing, Refreshing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Strong acting and moving script.

Don't see it if If you don’t like drama.

Also It was a moving play with 3 powerful actors who made you believe in th... Read more Read less

Rambling, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like family stories told by 3 actors in a series of monologues. Some of the stories were quite funny and/or moving; others, not so much.

Don't see it if you need a play where the actors interact. There's a static quality here, and I never did figure out why they were in that setting.

Also Could use some editing.

Funny, Entertaining, Refreshing, Clever

See it if You enjoy a clever interwoven story told through monologues by three members of a family. Touching and moving, yet funny and truthful.

Don't see it if You need more action and you don’t have the patience for monologues. If you do, you will be rewarded.

July 31st, 2019
"Motherhood Masters Dysfunction in ‘Little Gem.’ In Elaine Murphy’s play, three women from one Dublin family tell a slice-of-life story through interwoven, interlocking monologues."
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July 26th, 2019
“Three Generations of Irish Women Live, Laugh, and Love in ‘Little Gem.’ Elaine Murphy's 2008 play returns to New York City in a new Irish Repertory Theatre production.”
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August 2nd, 2019
"The gift of gab reigns supreme in this beguiling triptych of contemporary Irish womanhood dealing with the sheer bloody business of living…Under the sensitive, highly alert direction of Marc Atkinson Borrull, three fine actresses keep one under the spell of their unbridled candor."
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July 26th, 2019
★★★★ "'Three Generations in One Family Work It All Out.' Elaine Murphy's engaging play features Marsha Mason, Brenda Meany and Lauren O'Leary."
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