Closed 1h 45m
The Shadow of a Gunman
Chelsea
80

The Shadow of a Gunman NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(91 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
2%
Negative
1%
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.

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Member Reviews (91)

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75
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.

85
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.

Critic Reviews (21)

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 uncorrectable skid into tragedy, there’s enough dramatic force to make you feel for the characters, even the ones you laughed at. At nearly 100 years old, O’Casey’s play still packs heat.”
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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 melodramatic turnings a mile down the road...Luckily, director Ciarán O'Reilly presides over an embarrassment of riches from lead to bit player...Irish Rep treats this relatively minor work like royalty.”
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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 us forget the bloody toll exacted by those prepared to pursue it at all costs. That is the 'message' of 'The Shadow of a Gunman,' and it couldn’t be more relevant here and now."
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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 the comic with the tragic. O'Reilly makes the transition from one to the other as natural as day to dusk...The realism of the production is one of its strongest suits.”
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February 25th, 2019

"They're not an especially appealing lot, at least in Ciarán O'Reilly's overhearty production; they keep banging through the doorway, bursting with energy and oratory, seemingly ready to take part in a farce that the playwright hasn't written...If the first act comes off as a rather too-zesty serving of local color, the second act is an immersion in a terror that seems all too familiar today. O'Reilly's staging acquires a muscularity it lacked."
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February 12th, 2019

"''The Shadow of a Gunman,' is an uneven misfire...Directed with a lack of cohesive tone by O'Reilly, the biggest problem with this revival is the actors aren't working in the same style...Both James Russell and Meg Hennessy are on the right wavelength with regards to O'Casey's taught style...Their tenement neighbors, on the other hand, are too over-the-top and overwrought in their characterizations. The contrast is jarring and the play's overall impact is severely lessened."
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February 12th, 2019

“For the most part, this fine, enduring play receives a winning and vital production by O’Reilly...The pacing seems to lag in a few places...Which suggests that not all of the actors are entirely secure in their characterizations...O’Reilly’s staging of the drama’s climax and conclusion, which are complex in action and emotion, is handled and performed extremely well...The general excellence of ‘Gunman’ makes one look forward to seeing the next two shows in its O’Casey Cycle.”
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February 12th, 2019

“This bracing and ultimately haunting production reminds us—under the witty, vigorous direction of O’Reilly—the playwright had a keen eye for human frailties and foibles...O’Reilly has filled his cast with fine players who drive home ‘Gunman‘s’ harrowing elements while fulfilling its rich comic potential...Given the troubled, polarized state of our own nation...’The Shadow of a Gunman’ provides a powerful reminder of all we still have to be grateful for."
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February 21st, 2019

"Director Ciarán O'Reilly handles O'Casey's abrupt tonal shifts well, transitioning from laughter to tears to horror with barely a hint of contrivance. A top-notch production team greatly aids O'Reilly's quest for authenticity, turning the performance space into an impressive simulacrum of war-torn Dublin. Leading the effort is Charlie Corcoran, whose incredibly detailed set spreads out into the audience."
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February 12th, 2019

“Given that ‘Shadow’ did suffer from the structural weaknesses of a fledgling work, the invaluable Irish Rep's co-founders have now tapped into its strengths...Directed...with solid attention to its blend of humor and horrified distress...O'Reilly has assembled a splendid team of actors...Russell and Hennessy do well as the romantic couple...But it's the actors in the minor roles who really give them color and make them less the overly familiar types they've become over the years.”
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February 22nd, 2019

“’The Shadow of a Gunman’ is a period piece wonderfully revived, not reimagined, that has relevance today as both theater and as human drama. The play takes place in 1920 during the Irish War of Independence...The Irish Repertory Theatre is mounting all three of O’Casey’s Dublin plays...They are a true gift the Irish Rep is giving to us all. As a theatre lover, I urge you to partake of their excellent work and offerings.”
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T
February 15th, 2019

"Ciarán O'Reilly has done an extraordinarily fine job of bringing this material to stinging, tragicomic life, making moot conventional criticism of the play's reputedly uneven blend of comedy and tragedy. Each member of the mostly Irish and Irish-American ensemble gives O'Casey's unusually vivid dialogue, spoken in thick North Irish brogues, the kind of dynamic force it requires while embodying their characters' physical attributes with a perfect tone of heightened naturalism."
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February 13th, 2019

“The play deliberately starts out with comedy...and then, in the last minutes of Act 2, abruptly swerves into deeply despairing tragedy...Diligent, intelligent, and viscerally connected to the material as O’Reilly is, there seemed to be a slight disconnect during the comic sequences...It could be that the tricky comedy-tragedy challenge presented by O’Casey’s work is the reason why it isn’t revived frequently enough...All the more reason to see the play now.”
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February 15th, 2019

"The drama’s power is fully realized in this staging directed by Ciarán O’Reilly with an effective buildup to the shattering climax. The company, with its customary dependability, has assembled a superb cast that milks every bit of the drama...It is remarkable how successful the author is in setting the stage and following through with a tense buildup in a complex play that is only 105 minutes long."
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May 11th, 2019

"Perhaps it was because I saw it first back in February but 'Shadow,' directed by the Rep’s co-founder Ciarán O’Reilly, turned out to be my favorite. The story was compelling, the performances were convincing and, importantly, the faux Irish accents the actors adopted were easy to understand. Despite years of theatergoing, it was my first encounter with an O’Casey play and I left eager to see the next one."
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February 20th, 2019

"'Gunman' was the first of O’Casey’s plays ever produced. It is more episodic than the others, and sometimes a bit derivative—it needs a sterling production like Ciarán O’Reilly’s current one to underline its virtues...O’Reilly’s production benefits not just from excellent performers, but from the work of set designer Charlie Corcoran...'The Shadow of a Gunman' is a fine first course for the heftier meals to come."
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O
February 19th, 2019

"The cast is absolutely perfect meshing beautifully under the tight direction of Ciaran O’Reilly...Some unexpected twists and turns in the plot race around the tense forty-five minutes it takes to reach a conclusion. It leaves no doubt that Sean O’Casey had found his voice with this play and that the Irish Rep Company has generously brought it to our attention once again...Thought provoking and somewhat disturbing—in other words, good theatre well done."
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March 5th, 2019

"One gets the feeling the production is motivated by nothing but deference to O'Casey as an enshrined and canonized playwright, and nothing sinks a classical revival like obedience to - rather than conversation with - the text."
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I
February 23rd, 2019

"Director Ciaran O’Reilly has outdone himself by transforming the intimate Greenburger Mainstage into a run-down Dublin tenement...Despite its reputation as nascent — even second tier — O’Casey, the play is efficiently structured, building powerfully to a tension and paranoia-soaked climax. As for the production, it’s top notch and reeks of quality. I’ve already mentioned Mr. O’Reilly’s enveloping, beautifully-detailed staging, but ultimately the success of any play lies in its acting."
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February 18th, 2019

"O’Casey is being very well-served by O’Reilly, who’s staged a potent production of 'Gunman'...O’Casey’s theme that paranoia can run rampant – but sometimes in the wrong direction – comes through boldly...O’Reilly’s production keeps that suspense building with it-could-happen-at-any-second tension."
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March 1st, 2019

“One of the best things you’ll see in 2019...O’Casey’s play starts out funny. You enjoy the poetry of the language and the precision of the performances...who are playing familiar Irish characters...Then the play takes a hard turn and you’re in the world of tragedy...The 10-person cast are perfect...O’Reilly hits each note so that the language is ever rhythmical and sharp...’The Shadow of a Gunman’ has heart, pathos, humor, and wit. It also has grief, one that will be sure to stay with you awhile.”
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