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The Aran Islands

From 14 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent

About the show

Irish Repertory Theatre presents a new adaptation of John Millington Synge’s classic work chronicling his travels to the desolate Aran Islands. More…

In 1898, upon the advice of W.B. Yeats, Synge went to live among the islanders to "express a life that has never found expression.’’ In this grey, sea-battered landscape, full of mist and wild rain, hearth is home and storytellers spin tales by the fire. Here Synge found inspiration for many later works including 'The Playboy of the Western World' and 'Riders to the Sea.' Irish actor Brendan Conroy tackles the story of Synge's time in this bleakly primitive, mystical land.

Member Reviews (14)


Great acting, Slow, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent
Avg Score

Confusing, Intense, Slow, Absorbing, Well acted

See it if Adaptation of Synge's journals of bleak island community as parts sociological study, travelogue & Irish mythmaking Interesting but slow

Don't see it if Actor Conroy doesn't offer enough variation between stories; they seem to blur into one contiuous monologue One standout - an Irish burial

Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Slow, Indulgent

See it if you're a fan of Synge & are curious about his non-fiction & its impact on his plays, enjoy 1-person shows in which the actor plays all roles

Don't see it if you can't concentrate during 1-person shows or deal with a variety of Irish accents, troubled by what the Irish had to endure every day

Also This play is based on Synge's notes and essays while visiting and rese... Read more Read less

Sleep inducing, Tacky set design, Static, Better read than dramatized

See it if you're in need of sleep. This one will certainly lull you to sleep. The dark lighting is an asset to that end. There's no arc in this piece.

Don't see it if you can read the book instead. Or if you have any other plays to see.

Great writing, Dated, Great acting, Niche, Great staging

See it if Plays that look toward the attitudes and customs of the past appeal to you. You have a romanticized view of Irish culture.

Don't see it if You are modern and prefer plays that speak to the issues of our time. The spareness of one-man shows disappoints you.

Also One-man show and a semi-autobiographical text of a playwright writing ... Read more Read less

Solo performance, Good acting, Intense

See it if I have visited the Aran Islands, loved my time there. Hoped to feel some of that atmosphere. It was the wrong play for me to see tonight.

Don't see it if You have difficulty with heavy Irish accents, dark stories, very wordy plays. Stage was dark, stories dark.

Enchanting, Slow, Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in the Irish experience. It is a masterful glimpse of a different culture portrayed with humor and great affection

Don't see it if you need action and a plot. This is a journey into memory not a play in the strict sense of the word.

Great acting, Riveting, Slow, Story-telling, Entertaining

See it if you appreciate a good story being told by a master, juggling Irish accents and voices.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy one-man shows or if you have a hard time understanding Irish accents.

Disappointing, Great acting, Great writing, Slow

See it if you love J.M Synge and can't read the works yourself. Great presentation of the work but a little boring.

Don't see it if you don't like one-person shows or Irish literature.

Great acting, Quirky, Intense

See it if you like intimate spaces and can "see" what you "hear" with ease.

Don't see it if you lack imagination.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you like classic Irish literature

Don't see it if Some stories were quite dark

Absorbing, Great acting, Quirky, Intelligent

See it if You are interested in Ireland, Irish mythology and folklore, Yeats.

Don't see it if You are not interested in monologues.

Exquisite, Masterful, Must see

See it if Gem of a production. If you like Irish remoteness, literature, geography and tales

Don't see it if You don't know or admird Irish culture and literature; you don't like one person slow paced plays

Absorbing, Exquisite, Enchanting, Great acting, Delightful

See it if you have a love of literature and powerful words that will enrich your soul. This is great writing and holds everything that you could ask

Don't see it if If you don't have concentration and don't appreciate lyrical language

Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if You like one man shows

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows

June 19th, 2017
"A faithful, if soporific adaptation...O'Byrne's adaptation and production (he also directs) eschews that dramatic potential for something a lot closer to a staged reading...Unfortunately, there is so little variation between the different characters that we feel like we're watching one long stor...
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June 23rd, 2017
"A travelogue with a fancy literary pedigree...Elegantly written, it's a tall order for adaptation to the stage...For all their effort, however, the result is pretty static...‘The Aran Islands’ is filled with tales but they don't compensate for the lack of an overall dramatic thrust. It might hel...
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June 19th, 2017
"Conroy, a chameleon-like actor, is a mostly riveting presence...A criticism of O'Byrne's adaptation of 'The Aran Islands,' a unique hybrid of memoir and documentary, to a stage monologue would be that it gives the same weight to Synge and the storytellers as it does to their folktales...It's eas...
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June 20th, 2017
“The demands placed on its star Brendan Conroy are of Wagnerian scale…While Brendan Conroy does an admirable job playing the many characters and Joe O’Byrne’s crisp direction keeps the proceedings moving, after about an hour a sense of sameness sets in. I would like to see Synge’s splendid study,...
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