Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Slow, Disappointing

About the show

Irish Rep presents the New York premiere of Brian Friel's historical drama. In the hot Donegal August of 1878, the fruits of Colonialism and the ambiguities of loyalty are tested within the background of impossible love.

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Christopher Gore, the liberal minded Anglo-Irish landlord and his son, David, reside at The Lodge with their “chatelaine” Margaret, with whom they are both in love. Christopher’s cousin, Dr. Richard Gore, arrives with the intention of pursuing a Darwin-inspired scientific theory: by measuring the craniums of the indigenous Irish, he hopes to crack the genetic code of the indigenes, demonstrating their inferior place in the natural order. Set in the era of the rumblings of violence and uncertainty at the dawn of The Home Rule movement, Friel explores the aftermath of Dr. Gore’s experiment as deep animosity is dangerously ignited among the suspicious villagers of Ballybeg.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Front Row Center

“Directed exquisitely by Charlotte a must see for all those who love theatre and the importance of language crafted by a master...How timely a play this is about ethnic categorization and social stereotyping in our own climate of deportation and hate...Mr. Friel has such a wonderful gift for letting a story unravel slowly through conversation and character. He wants us to understand what home means...The cast is outstanding.” Full Review

New York Irish Arts

“The beautiful production is haunting; a dream that’s about to be a nightmare. Literally. I lost sleep...Moore helms a talented cast with nuance and grace...It would be a mistake to assume that the action is on the surface. There’s a lot churning underneath, and not just feelings...The play is a masterpiece, and Moore does it proud." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"A staging of hushed grace and delicacy, one that I wish Friel had lived to see...A history play of sorts, though its drama is wholly personal...Unabashedly Chekhovian, but it also contains a sharp nudge of Shavian satire...Moore's staging is so unassumingly natural that it feels as though the play is not being acted but is merely happening...To see it is to come away certain that 'The Home Place' is one of Friel’s half-dozen masterpieces." Full Review


“It is possible to enjoy Brian Friel's ‘The Home Place’ without knowing the background to this historical play set in rural Ireland in 1878 as a Chekhovian representation of a world about to come to an end. However, the play will be much more meaningful if one knows the historical events that have led up to this turn of events. Charlotte Moore's handsome and genteel production will be enjoyed most by those who understand the play's undercurrents and implications.” Full Review


"'Friel’s most subtle, powerful, and complicated work. Irish Rep's rendition of Friel’s play gloriously captures Friel’s subtle power. Not only are the sets, staging, lighting, and artistic elements lustrous, the quiet dark tones and gradual evolution toward the climax become the transports to the profound thematic conclusion...One must pay attention and not miss the clever cues Moore leaves throughout as the conflict ratchets up by degrees then explodes to the climax." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Clashes and near head-bangings carry on in Friel’s two acts, which have the feel of Chekhov on uppers...Friel is one of those playwrights who never goes wrong...What’s deeply moving about Friel’s writing is the balance with which he present all sides of a troubled issue. It’s particularly welcome in director Moore’s production with a flawless ensemble. No one puts a foot, hand or syllable wrong, and each has at least one sterling moment to claim focus along Friel’s sure-handed, clear-eyed way." Full Review

Two on the Aisle

“.A study of contrasts...’The Home Place’ is beautifully directed by Charlotte Moore, the Irish Rep’s Artistic Director. She has a fine cast to work with...Another fascinating play by one of Ireland’s best playwrights.” Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“A collection of colorful performers under the intelligent command of director Charlotte Moore...’The Home Place’ may not be one of playwright Friel’s greatest plays, but it succeeds in delineating part of an era with its controversies, as well as presenting flesh and blood characters attempting to sort out their lives. And director Moore exhibits keen understanding of the play and an ability to effectively communicate its essence." Full Review

Daily Beast

"A modest and almost-excellent adaptation of Friel’s 'The Home Place'...The play is a distillation of a changing Ireland, where the locals are not just going to look winsome and pay their rent...When emotions run high, the shouty and overly declarative acting can overwhelm the small stage. But, affecting and stirring, this adaptation carries the personal and political ghosts of times past resonantly in its sails." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“Brian Friel’s play, ‘The Home Place’, looks at what constitutes home—to the heart...Windsor-Cunningham presents a touching, nuanced portrayal of Christopher Gore...Perfect comic timing must be credited to the brilliant director, Charlotte Moore...Friel has been called 'the Irish Chekhov' and this play demonstrates how appropriate the appellation is. The Irish Rep is so warm and welcoming, theatergoers may well find it their own ‘Home Place.’” Full Review

The Playfixer

"Like all of Friel’s plays, it takes place in the fictional Irish town of Ballybeg in County Donegal....While not top-drawer Friel, ‘The Home Place’ is nonetheless an enjoyable drama, subtly structured, and Irish Rep Artistic Director Charlotte Moore’s direction is superb. Her cast is excellent. It is difficult for me to pick out any faves, but if I had to I would put my finger on John Windsor Cunningham as Christopher and Rachel Pickup as Margaret." Full Review

Berkshire Fine Arts

“Satisfying direction by Charlotte Moore...This play feels like an Irish ‘Cherry Orchard’...The most surprising U-turn in the play is Christopher Gore's. Played brilliantly by John-Windsor Cunningham...Playwright Friel is able to suggest how and why the world of the lower classes strong and vibrant. He does not preach. Rather he uses his good fortune to find music as the symbol of peasant vitality.” Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"Moore, the Irish Rep’s Artistic Director, has longed for the right moment to bring this final work of Friel’s to New York. She’s directed it herself in a manner that would have pleased him...The play is literate, and offers many choice confrontations which give opportunity to actors of quality to engage themselves and us...Charlotte Moore has assembled a first-rate ensemble to breathe life into this glimpse of a divisive time in Ireland’s history. Sadly, it seems scarily relevant.” Full Review


"The Chekhovian influence on Friel's work is here rather heavy-handed...And the first act's introduction of the characters who are the agents as well as victims of unstoppable change moves at a rather talk-heavy, meandering pace. However, Moore has assembled a fine cast to make all the characters creditable and aptly sympathetic or despicable...Gore is not only the play's key character but the star performance. That's not to say that the performances overall aren't excellent." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"There are some commendable performances, particularly from the older members of the cast who add substance to the perception of a conceited class. At times, Moore's directorial grasp slips. What should be the play’s dramatic pinnacle, collapses under chaos...'The Home Place' is nevertheless an important play that digs deep into the blight of the soul that scurries within oppressive power." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“Friel's pseudo-Chekhovian, two-act play…meanders from theme to theme, sometimes inserting symbols, like a falcon that threatens the household's chickens; unfortunately, it never truly coheres as an integrated whole. We hear a lot of interestingly informative dialogue…but must wait until well into Act Two before anything truly dramatic bursts out…The tall and slender…Rachel Pickup, as Margaret, offers the most convincing performance, bringing warmth, intelligence, and strength to the role.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"There's a lot going on in 'The Home Place,' but it ultimately feels like a finger exercise from the autumn of a great playwright's career; despite the plot's explosive implications, it is marked by a hushed, hesitant quality that prevents us from fully taking in his characters' longings and anxieties...The oddly tentative atmosphere is exacerbated by Moore's rather perfunctory staging, despite several strong performances." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Despite its shortcomings, Friel's writing still shimmers with its customary lyricism...'The Home Place' has a difficult time allowing its themes of exile, identity, language and oppression to be explored to their fullest. The main reason for this is the miscasting of Windsor-Cunningham in the pivotal role of Christopher Gore. Lacking both the requisite authority and stage presence, Windsor-Cunningham projects an insecurity at odds with the demands of his character." Full Review


"Moore's production looks beautiful, but is markedly untidy when it comes to finding a dramatic arc for her actors. As a result, most of the central performances are lost in the loquacious terrain of Friel's script, though Pickup's headstrong portrayal of Margaret stands above the fray...Only in fits and starts does the play find the right focus, spending simultaneously too much and too little time on its dueling storylines, never hitting the right balance of either." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"The cast is well suited to the piece with Mr. Randolph perfectly devilish. Charlotte Moore does a nice job of directing, but this play plods along. Thankfully the scenery by James Noone was attractive to look at." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"Sometimes a beautiful woman’s yearning gaze isn’t sufficient to hold a piece of theater together that has too many moving parts...Despite Charlotte Moore’s elegant direction, that gaze, and the moments it underscores, is hampered by a plot burdened with too many notes...Pickup is luminous and lovely as Margaret...Yet the narrative, filled with extraneousness, ultimately weakens even Pickup’s excellent work." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"The plot is slight, politics subtle. Suggested threat implied by the appearance of Con and John comes from left field, landing awkward and ill considered..Still, the piece would’ve been more credible had its actors given their characters adequate thought. Almost none of them seem to know who they are or what they actually feel making performance all surface. Almost none of them seem to know who they are or what they actually feel...A better play than its production." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"All the comments I overhead seemed to be about the set...It was hard to think of anything as complimentary to say about the rest of the production...This rendering seems unfocused...Too few of those actors are up to the task of walking the fine line between grit and whimsy that defines so much of Friel's work...Under Moore's shaky direction, several of the male actors make eccentric choices that undercut not only their characters but the narrative of the play." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Brian Friel is music to your ears, (his language is so poetic and extremely well performed here); the script is fascinating and unusual

Don't see it if you're not interested in 19th c. Anglo/Irish relationships, find eugenics a dated concept, want to miss a rare op to see Friel's final work.

Also Excellent production, beautiful set, great acting and excellent opport... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Dated

See it if Enjoy historical drama. Are a Chekhov fan.

Don't see it if You prefer fast paced plays. Knowing the historical context helps.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if A sense of dislocation and displacement permeates the characters of this play who feel ‘unhomely” at the “Home Place.” Good theatre.

Don't see it if You do not like a drama of social change

Funny, Clever, Resonant, Great staging

See it if You like this type of play. If you like Brian Friel s plays. It has good acting, staging and very funny.

Don't see it if You don't like the Irish plays with this kind of genre. The show can get away from you if you don't pay attention.

Slow, Dated, Well acted, Window into another time and place

See it if A window into another time and place with competent acting is sufficient for you

Don't see it if You need/want a plot arc for a successful theater experience

Disappointing, Slow, Great set, Glacial plot devlopement, Lacks paasion

See it if Brian Friel's last work, Irish drama, Irish Rep, & their new space are on your bucket list

Don't see it if glacially paced storytelling, mismatched love interests, lessons about historical moments are not on your bucket list

Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Slow

See it if If a Chekov-like dramedy of Irish society on the edge of change is appealing.

Don't see it if A portrait of a moment in Irish history rather than a tightly plotted play is not enough for you.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Insipid, Slow, Lush set

See it if You enjoy Irish theater and have an interest in the Anglo Irish colonial period.

Don't see it if If you are overtired, it will put you to sleep. Too much unnecessary dialog.

Also To be fair, it was a long day and this was our second play.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Confusing, Slow

See it if You're interested in colonialism in Ireland.

Don't see it if It's expensive.

Also It's a good idea for a show, but it needs to move more quickly. There ... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You want a modern take on Irish history. You want that history seen from more than 1 POV. You want an intriguing story that holds attention

Don't see it if You prefer a play writen on the time period depicted on stage. You don't like a mix of drama & comedy. You want a light night out.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Exquisite, Slow, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy shows that paint more of a portrait of a period and place in time rather than an actual story. There’s a story here but not much.

Don't see it if You’re looking for action or even a good story. This is a beautiful portrait of a certain place and time. It’s beautifully done but slow.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Disappointing, Uneven

See it if you are interested in Friel's work and are willing to put up with unconvincing acting and inconsistent direction.

Don't see it if you have a chance to see a better acted and directed production.

Also Despite the renovations, the Irish Rep still has inadequate facilities... Read more Read less

Homey enough

See it if You must see late writer's last play. Irish Rep's usual smart set, costumes, sound.

Don't see it if Lead actor a bit weak in pushing play forward. It's as if already defeated. Housekeepers steal the show. Pickup is luminous. Green charming.

Also I'm glad I got to see the ladies perform. Ignorance of Irish history w... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Disappointing, Uneven performances

See it if You want to see a great set supporting this classic Friel. A play about class consciousness which is relevant now. History lesson re: Eire 2

Don't see it if V poor casting in love interest-has imvalid accent & not 4 moment do u believe shed fall 4 this oddball. Lacked direction w/other actors 2~

Decent acting, Modern play feels like period piece -not in a good way, Decent writing, Just not compelling

See it if If Friel or Irish drama or the Irish Rep is your thing, this is fine. If you want a story that merely skims the surface of historical...

Don't see it if fact, also fine. Little nuance, little development, which is a pity because the concept and setting offer many possibilities.

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Disappointing

See it if you're a fan of Brian Friel-- this is the last play he wrote; you like traditional dramas; you're interested in Irish theatre or history.

Don't see it if you don't like "talky" dramas; have trouble with Irish and English acccents.

Also This is a long way from Friel's best.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Slow

See it if Like Irish History or plays. Enjoy quiet historical shows

Don't see it if Want an exciting show or musical or something contemporary

Ambitious, Resonant, Disappointing, Slow, Well acted

See it if Despite being well acted & designed, Friel's populist, end of land act era drama plods along w/heavy 1st act exposition nearly crippling it

Don't see it if With one to many story lines (one bordering on soap opera) & Moore's stolid direction, drama lacks the needed dynamism to sustain interest

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Very well acted

See it if you wish a play that demands attention and thoughtful reflection afterwards. Worth seeing and discussing.

Don't see it if you'd prefer a light comedy or musical.

Disappointing, Slow, Dated

See it if you want to see a pretty set and a lovely theatre. BUT the play and acting and direction not so lovely.

Don't see it if you want to see good acting and credible direction. This production is so OFF!

Great acting, Disappointing, Insipid, Slow, Dated

See it if you like Brian Friel and are a fan of the Irish Repertory Theatre.

Don't see it if you want to see one of Friel's stronger plays where you care about the characters.

Also This is a weak play, but it does show how evil the belief in ethnic an... Read more Read less

Relevant, Disappointing, Shallow, Stereotype characterizations, Not nuanced

See it if you enjoy historical plays about the English abuse of the Irish and the evils in the belief of ethnic and racial superiority.

Don't see it if you like nuance in theater, realistic perceptive characterizations and dislike characters that are difficult to care about.

Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Dated

See it if you love Brian Friel's plays.

Don't see it if you're looking for something profound.

Disappointing, Uninspired, Bland, Perhaps it was just an off night for the cast..., Largely unintelligible

See it if you get the note that says the cast is not going to phone it in.

Don't see it if you don't feel like taking a nap

Also I had wanted to see this since it was announced. I finally decided to ... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great writing, Gentle, Very good acting

See it if like Irish theater and period plays well acted by a great playwright from the past.

Don't see it if Quiet little plays with accents.

Cast & Creatives (19)