New York | 1h 40m | Already closed

On Blueberry Hill

From 14 critic and 33 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great writing, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

About the show

Following its world premiere at Dublin Theatre Festival 2017, Olivier Award-winning Fishamble brings its drama about Christy and PJ, the best of friends and worst of enemies, to New York. More…

"On Blueberry Hill" is bursting with humanity as it explores murder, forgiveness, survival, and ultimately, love in the prison of the human heart.

Part of the 2019 Origin 1st Irish Festival.

Front Row Center

“The story of ‘On Blueberry Hill’ is out of the box. One of those what if, and also what if, and then what if THAT...These are tales of deep sorrow and joy told in the plain language of facts...Both these actors are accomplished storytellers. They know how to paint with words...The story flags a teeny bit as we come round the bend, but in the end it picks itself up and leaps off the edge of the chasm. These two fine actors let their characters fly – and take us with them. Bravo Big Time.” Full Review


“A two-hander that is mesmerizing its audiences...A drama that deftly combines heartache and humor in a story that you will long remember...This is a riveting tale of youth, promise, murder, betrayal, and redemption...The play stars Buggy and Gany...These accomplished actors master Sebastian Barry's finely crafted dialogue and capture the emotional, dramatic and humorous moments of their character's stories...A bittersweet tale that must be seen.” Full Review

British Theatre Guide

“As close to small-scale theatrical perfection as you are ever likely to get...Meticulously, calmly and becoming emotional at moments of great stress, PJ and Christy roll out tales that initially seem to have no connection...Barry is canny enough to delve deeply into the hearts and souls of two lonely men...Ganly and Buggy deliver the kind of moving performances that take a beautifully written, poetic piece of writing and make it something haunting and quite extraordinary.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A beautifully nuanced yet thrilling tale about loss, grief, and forgiveness...Barry’s play will leave an imprint on your heart the way a stream shapes a stone: gradually, almost imperceptibly, but unmistakably a force to be reckoned with...An unflinchingly intimate piece. Ganly and Buggy, two extraordinary performers, deliver the poetic text with ease and gravitas...A poetic play, yet one that is deeply grounded; it’s a play that captivates with patience, yet never lacks surprises." Full Review


“This is a stunning and eventful narrative, yet made totally credible by Barry’s writing and the arresting work of the two actors, beautifully balanced one against the other...There are times when Buggy’s intensity takes his voice to a low volume level you may have to strain to hear him...Nevertheless, the magnetism of this actor keeps the audience rapt...The exceptional attentive stillness that both Ganly and Buggy engendered in their audience...became a memorable part of the event." Full Review

Off Off Online

“’On Blueberry Hill’, is less a traditional play than two intertwined monologues...but it is riveting. Although inherently lacking the excitement of actors facing off in conflict, monologues in the right hands can be thrilling. Barry dresses his in poetic imagery...Culleton’s production puts Barry’s gift for storytelling on full display...And keeps the audience guessing...Barry is a master storyteller—as are the two actors and their characters.” Full Review

Theater Life

"Barry's writing, verbally lush in the tradition of the best Irish writing, allows PJ and Christy's memories to bath in the glow of nostalgia…And Barry's dependence on monologues rather than dialogue does occasionally sag in the tension department...Nevertheless,…Buggy and Ganly give what are among the finest demonstrations of restrained, totally believable acting on the current New York stage…We feel their pain, their confusion, their anger, their guilt, and their frustrations." Full Review

Time Out New York

“Two prisoners alternate soliloquies, taking turns and barely ever acknowledging each other...At its best, their monologue duet is purely beautiful; at its worst, it’s still pretty lovely...The writing is packed with perfect metaphors...At times the little Theater B at 59E59 pulsates with language so intense you can feel the sonic wave breaking on your chest. If the contrivances and plot twists of the play’s second half bother you, there are two incredible performances to fall back on.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

"There is, in this extraordinary (if imperfect) work, a path to transcendence, involving that most challenging of virtues, forgiveness, and fellow feeling...Barry does not hold back in charting his characters’ flights of sentiment; I stopped scribbling down similes about a half hour in, my fingers exhausted...For the audience the pair of powerhouse performances on display in this production will indeed provide a thrill, and then some." Full Review


"A tour de force for its players Niall Buggy and David Ganly. It is also a riveting experience for the audience...Completely driven by narrative with no exchange of conversation, the play nevertheless moves on a highly dramatic trajectory...Barry's writing is so beautifully crafted that we overlook the plot's stretch of credibility...You should be going if you want to see two great actors in the kind of challenging and unusual play that you won't easily forget." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Beautifully written in dueling monologue form...Played strongly and sincerely by David Ganly and Niall Buggy...the two fluctuate between pain and happiness, confessing their stories of love, desire, and companionship as poetically eternal. Half the pleasure is their dynamic and engaging delivery...All this back and forth works its magic, thanks to the extremely grounded work of its two compelling actors and 'On Blueberry Hill‘s' talented director, Jim Culleton." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“Because the playwright is Sebastian Barry, the dialogue is smoothly literary, as always a pleasure to the ear...But, because this is a Sebastian Barry play, one steels oneself for an evening of dueling monologues...If not played with total conviction, ‘On Blueberry Hill’ could come off as shamelessly contrived. But, under the direction of Jim Culleton, it's easy to travel with these characters along their occasionally implausible -- if often gorgeously described -- journey." Full Review


"At first we do not entirely know for certain that PJ and Christy share the same space, but eventually the play becomes one of murder, forgiveness and redemption. Aside from the highly poeticized language, the play also uses a great many Irish words that will not be readily known to American listeners (dozer, hurleys, anent, curach, palaver, screw, lag, and the first name Peadar). As Buggy's accent is working class that is another level of difficulty for non-Irish theatergoers." Full Review

The New York Times

"The seriously imbalanced new play about love, hatred, and redemption...Barry has an uncommon gift for finding hypnotic music in this perspective. And when his language is delivered by consummate Irish actors like’s hard not to sink into a state of contented sadness that you half wish would go on forever...At a certain point in this 100-minute production, the plot that brings its two characters into convergence takes over with increasing, strong-armed clumsiness." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Do not miss

See it if One of the best plays writing acting as only the Irish can do Must see

Don't see it if You do not like difficult uncomfortable story

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see

See it if You love Irish plays and storytelling sling with masterful acting.

Don't see it if If you like plays with strong dramatic, physical action.

Brilliant acting, Intense, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if you love terrific acting and a script that is almost poetry.Very touching show.I really LOVED this show.It's really special. Go!

Don't see it if you want light, fluffy musicals.This is a show that makes you think, makes you challenge your beliefs about forgiveness, guilt, love.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you want to see two stellar performances from Niall Buggy and David Ganly. Sebastian Barry's language is absolutely stunning and poetic.

Don't see it if you do not like alternating monologues that eventually come together.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Delightful, Great singing

See it if Saw at the original venue loved every minute and not surprised it is on broadway now. Amazing singing dancing story costumes plot,has it all

Don't see it if If you hate having a fabulous night at the theater avoid at all costs

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Profound

See it if you love great drama. If you enjoy unusual formatting, poetic language, exceptional acting and thought provoking ideas. All the good stuff!

Don't see it if If incarceration is a triggering issue for you. You are impatient with subtly evolving plot development.

Great writing, Great acting

See it if You're looking for a gorgeously written and brilliantly acted show that deftly handles complex emotions.

Don't see it if You're bothered by plays with slow starts and intermittent slower pacing.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Compelling

See it if Gorgeous writing expressed by brilliant acting. Great emotion is on display beckoning you into the lives & stories of two prison cellmates.

Don't see it if you prefer dialogue to monologue; you prefer comedy to tragedy and the experience of feeling a gamut of emotion.

Redemptive, Evocative, Intense, Affecting

See it if you are interested in hearing 2 prison cellmates tell the intensely human, intertwining stories of how they got here.

Don't see it if for you a drama is only a drama when the characters interact to a significant degree: the 2 characters here speak mostly to the audience.

Also In “On Blueberry Hill” 2 cellmates take turns telling us in bite-sized... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if You want to see an original, poetic, and beautiful Irish story. Mostly monologues so it’s important to listen closely to to story.

Don't see it if You don’t have the patience to let the story unfold.It is well worth it, the superb acting, the entrancing language, and the original script

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if it already closed, really well written, different show

Don't see it if you can't now

Great acting, Minimalist staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you love the theater, the pure joy of seeing 2 great actors burning their way through a thoughtful and relevant script; you want 2b moved

Don't see it if your theater has to hit you in the face with lights, song, dance; this one is pure poetry

Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to understand how two men sharing the same plrison cell can relate to each other, without ever addressing the other.

Don't see it if You like a lot of action on stage. You will need to pay close attention to the words.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Riveting

See it if love Irish story telling* with dark humor. Alternating monologues by 2 characters that converge at end, stories that come in bits & pieces

Don't see it if don't like slowly developing stories, dark humor, Irish accents (although fairly easy to understand), 1hr. 45 min. without intermission

Also *personal bias - I love Irish storytelling.... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you love beautiful language brought to life by two terrific actors.

Don't see it if you don't like 'two-handers' or 'quiet' productions .

Also for the first half of the play, I felt I was almost hypnotized by the ... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Original, Good entertainment

See it if You're a lover of serious theater. Excellent writing, good ideas, well staged and well acted in a lovely small theater.

Don't see it if You need a lot of action or don't like small productions.

Also Different and worth seeing. I think any play lover would enjoy this. T... Read more Read less

Great acting, Unusual structure, Plot unfolds gradually, Language is exceedingly beautiful

See it if You're not fazed by a play that takes place in a prison cell that is basically all narration about past events.

Don't see it if You want a play with a more typical structure.

Also The acting is wonderful in this very unusual play, which is basically ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if If you want a well written play that has good acting and a very good story line.

Don't see it if Actors speak a lot to the audience. If you want something lite and breezy.

Absorbing, Clever

See it if You enjoy good writing performed by competent and able actors

Don't see it if You enjoy big productions with large casts and fancy scenery

Great acting, Euphonious, Tragic, Great writing, Masterful

See it if 2 men, a bunk bed, and poetic, beautiful, melodious monologues - intensely and masterfully acted - are enough to enthrall you.

Don't see it if if u don't appreciate 2 meandering series of monologues that never constitute a dialogue but develop into a beautifully unified aching story

Great monologues, Absorbing irish storytelling, Dark stage with one dim spotlight

See it if Prison cellmates take turns telling their confessional stories that end by tying together in bazaar vows, which in song “were never to be”.

Don't see it if You want dialog and physical action, & don’t want to hear a play about murder, confrontation, rage, forgiveness, and eventually compassion.

Clever, Great acting, Slow, Atmospheric, Intimate

See it if You like layered, compelling, broad-strokes stories where characters journey through difficult situations.

Don't see it if Your attention easily wanders when the pace slows, or you need to dive into the details of each character step.

Also I have conflicted feelings about this show. I felt drawn into what was... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Redemptive, Contrived, Lyrical, Indulgent

See it if Two lifetime prison inmates alternate mellifluous monologues of their journey from hatred to friendship. Challenging characters. Touching

Don't see it if but hard to believe. The motive for the first crime was hard to accept, and the second even more so. Were they so broken, and now cured?

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if A well-told tale that holds your interest throughout providing some light moments as each character alternates telling the tragic story

Don't see it if You prefer interaction between characters as opposed to alternating monologues. Also play closes Sunday so if you don't have a ticket ...

Great acting, Implausible story

See it if you can allow great acting to sweep you along to the point where you can overlook wild implausibility in the story.

Don't see it if you can't. I know that forgiveness and redemption can come in many forms, but the cynic in me couldn't buy that they would take this form.

Cast & Creatives (7)