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The Shadow of a Gunman

From 91 member  reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Great writing, Thought-provoking

About the show

In O’Casey’s 1923 drama, a young poet gets pulled into the chaos of Irish War of Independence by a rumor that he is an IRA assassin. More…

It’s 1921, and the Irish War of Independence rages on the streets of Dublin as Irish revolutionaries clash with British auxiliary forces. Aspiring poet Donal Davoren tries to avoid the conflict, but when Donal learns of a rumor that he is a gunman on the run, he cannot resist the curiosity it stirs in beautiful young Minnie Powers…and he cannot escape the attention of his other neighbors. As the rumor grows, the war outside moves closer to home with tragic consequences.

"The Shadow of a Gunman" is being presented in repertory along with the other two plays of Sean O’Casey’s "Dublin Trilogy" ("Juno and the Paycock" and "The Plough and the Stars") as Irish Rep’s "O’Casey Cycle."

Member Reviews (91)


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

Entertaining, Dated, Good acting, Interesting

See it if Well acted piece of classic theater. Heavy accents (of course) and a relatively simple story. But well told. I enjoyed it.

Don't see it if You don't like historical plays about the IRA.

Thought-provoking, Biting, Intimate, Resonant, Funny

See it if Funniest of the 3 O'Casey plays. The poet is hilarious. A satire on how people react when faced with danger. Colorful tenement characters.

Don't see it if You are uninterested in a historical play set in 1920's Ireland. Farcical elements of people caught in conflict.

Great staging, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if u want to see a stunningly staged, taut revival of O'Casey's masterful thriller; u appreciate (or want to discover) Irish Rep's mission.

Don't see it if ur not interested in Irish culture or history; u are looking for strictly light fare; your idea of Irish theatre is the St Pat's Day Parade

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Intense, Great staging

See it if Early O'Casey is as much irish blarney as fraught political melodrama Rich characterizations; O"Reilly's taut direction keeps drama on track

Don't see it if Talky, expository 1st act nearly does drama in but 2nd act packs a punch Accent heavy & colloquial but Corcoran's immersive set a knockout

Absorbing, Great acting, Confusing, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if Spectacular Scenic Design and Costumes. So pleasing to again see the same show from 20 years ago and with some of the same cast . See Also

Don't see it if Practice some speech with folks with Irish inflections before seeing the show. A/C much too effective for Feb. eves. See Also

Also Acting at its best. Great idea to devote the season to the 3 plays... Read more Read less

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

See it if you enjoy Irish plays & O'Casey, like linear plots filled with well-developed characters & action, interested in Irish war of independence

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding Irish dialect, bothered by suspense and impending gun fire & explosions, not into Irish & IRA history

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Beautifully produced

See it if you enjoy classic dramas with historical settings. The auditorium has been converted to create an environment for the play. Great direction

Don't see it if you are disturbed by the violent complexities of Irish history. The program has a good summery of Irish history that sets up the situation

Great writing, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if you're interested in period dramas set during times of conflict. There are many well-drawn characters performed well by a talented cast.

Don't see it if you're looking for something uplifting or contemporary.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Must see, Masterful

See it if You are a fan of great Irish drama and Sean O’Casey. After 100 years the theme of conflict resonates throughout with excellence.

Don't see it if You expect a lighthearted look at Irish life with happy music and rosy outlooks. Get ready for authentic Irish accents. 🍀

Also Irish Rep is presenting a Sean O’Casey Trilogy. This play covers the y... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Dated, Slow

See it if You like Sean O'Casey's work and want to see a high production value version of one of his plays.

Don't see it if You get bored easily. While there are some great moments it is VERY talky, sometimes without really going anywhere.

Also The last two times I've been to the Irish Rep, I alternated between be... Read more Read less

Must see, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like great productions by a great playwright. This is real theater, no gimmicks - just a good story well told with complex characters.

Don't see it if you prefer light theater and musicals.

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

See it if as with others in O'Casey cycle - a variety of Irish characters in Dublin tenement during period of conflict (this time 1920 War of Indep.)

Don't see it if don't like violent settings; don't like clues early on - some things that happen early in 1st half point to tragic consequences*

Also *For me, this gave it suspense - knowing something tragic was going to... Read more Read less

Important o'casey, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you are an Irish theater fan. An important play about Irish wars. The set is fantastic, look right, left, up, around, hallways.

Don't see it if the irish accents bother you, some are hard to understand. It helps to read playbill explaining Irish history in a nutshell.

Historical, Great acting, Great writing, Delightful, Funny

See it if you would like a funny view of a very serious time in Irish history. Excellent character actors. Interesting set over the audience.

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding deep Irish accents or have no interest in Irish history.

Great staging, Intelligent, Intense

See it if you care for stories of Irish independence from the POV of the people in middle of the war. Great staging. Strong drama with bits of humor.

Don't see it if you can't handle heavy Irish accents. Simulated gunshots and some violence in Act II.

Absorbing, Great acting, Wonderful set, Intense, Masterful

See it if you're a fan of Irish drama. This is beautifully directed and staged, and I'm looking forward to the next two plays in the O'Casey trilogy.

Don't see it if you dislike plays with heavy accents and impending violence.

Also I loved that one of the main characters was a poet, and we heard snipp... Read more Read less

Somewhat dated, Talky, First act drags a bit, Great set and use of whole theater

See it if You're interested in Irish history and classic theater.

Don't see it if You're looking for a comedy. If Irish accents bother you.

Also The Irish Rep did a great job providing background for this show. Befo... Read more Read less

Historical, Static, 2nd play in dublin trilogy, Slow

See it if You are a fan of O'Casey, Irish history, and verbiage heavy drama.

Don't see it if You are impatient for action. The first act is very ponderous, but the second act picks up significantly.

Entertaining, Well acted

See it if You might enjoy Irish history written as it happened, showing quotidian life as well as some very tense melodramatic elements. Funny too.

Don't see it if You have issues with strong accents, or no interest in times and lives different than those you have experienced.

Intelligent, Resonant, Intense

See it if you are a fan of Sean O"Casey & of Irish history. A grippy story well presented.

Don't see it if You are not interested in Irish history

Relevant, Intense, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You're interested in Irish history and a story about the tragedy of war.

Don't see it if You don't like plays depicting violence, strong accents, or a focus on male characters to the detriment of those that suffer the most.

Shadow of a great playwright

See it if Set was gorgeous. The first act was like a tepid farce where you wanted to laugh but nothing was particularly funny. The second act ...

Don't see it if got serious but you didn't care enough about any of these buffoonish characters. Some good acting/some very mediocre.

Authentic, moving, totally engaging

See it if you admire authentic, honest, beautifully acted and directed productions of rarely produced classic plays that deserve this fine spotlight

Don't see it if a play capturing the human reality and toll of the inception of the Irish "troubles" will upset you. No happy endings.

Also It is rare to see O'Casey, let alone to see it so beautifully acted, s... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Exquisite, Great acting, Profound

See it if You want to learn about the Irish revolution. Also it’s a case of mistaken identity and a good history piece

Don't see it if You do not like history pieces

Entertaining, Engrossing, Irish classic, Funny

See it if If you love things Irish, this character study of dreamers and braggarts, lovers and drunkards in troubled times is for you.

Don't see it if You don't like brogues, loud noises and historical events intruding on your drama.

Also I very much enjoyed this revival of O'Casey's classic drama. Lots of I... Read more Read less

February 12th, 2019
“O’Reilly’s production doesn’t hit any of the themes too hard. If he does locate the brutality in much of the comedy, he treats a grim play lightly. If you’re worried that you may not find gun violence especially funny, just lean back and luxuriate in the language...When the play takes its uncorr...
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February 13th, 2019
“The first half of ‘The Shadow of a Gunman’ is a tenement comedy that is almost sleepy...The characters are poor, yet rich in the time to talk...As a play, ‘The Shadow of a Gunman’ is a bit schematic. That’s why it’s the least frequently produced of O'Casey's Dublin Cycle; you can see the plot's ...
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February 21st, 2019
"Mr. O’Reilly has once again turned the company’s 148-seat mainstage auditorium into an immersive space that places you squarely in the middle of the shabby world of O’Casey’s characters. The cast is miraculously right, though none of the 10 actors appear to be 'performing'...O’Casey never lets u...
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February 12th, 2019
“Thrilling new production...Superbly performed...As excellent a production of the play as you're ever likely to see...Characters come off as Shakespearean clichés, but the actors...get us through...That quibble aside, ‘The Shadow of a Gunman’ showcases O'Casey's unquestionable talent for blending...
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