…there’s a gap between a gallous story and a dirty deed

Opening the new season at The Old Vic, John Crowley directs J M Synge’s irreverent comic masterpiece starring Niamh Cusack, Ruth Negga and Robert Sheehan.

This savagely funny Irish classic was first produced in 1907 and was met with rioting and controversty when it premiered, sending shock waves across the dramatic world.

Set in a small village in the west coast of County Mayo, The Playboy of the Western World is a lyrical comedy which tells the story of lonely dreamer Christy Mahon who wanders into a pub, claiming that he has killed his father. Captivating the locals with his talk of bravery he becomes an instant hero but it turns out that there’s an unexpected twist in his tale.

One of Ireland’s finest writers, John Millington Synge was a co-founder of the Abbey theatre and wrote only six plays before his untimely death at the age of 37, including The Shadow of the Glen, Riders to the Sea and The Well of the Saints.

John Crowley’s recent theatre work on Broadway includes A Behanding in Spokane, A Steady Rain and The Pillowman, which earned him a Tony Award nomination. He has directed extensively at Dublin’s Gate, Abbey and Peacock Theatres. His film credits include Is Anybody There?, Boy A, Intermission and Channel 4’s Celebration.

Niamh Cusak was recently seen in the critically acclaimes production of Rattigan’s Cause Célèbre at The Old Vic. Her theatre credits include Dancing at Lughnasa (The Old Vic), Portrait of a Lady (Theatre Royal Bath), The Enchantment and His Dark Materials (National Theatre). Her television credits include the hugely popular drama series Heartbeat.

Ruth Negga’s theatre credits include Hamlet and Phèdre (National Theatre) for which she won the Ian Charleson Award 2010. Her performance in Duck at the Royal Court earned her an Olivier nomination for Best Newcomer.

Robert Sheehan is best known for his breakthrough BAFTA nominated role in the hugely successful E4 television series Misfits. His other television credits include the much acclaimed Red Riding Trilogy. Film work includes Killin Bono and Season of the Witch.

John Crowley’s cracking production

The Daily Telegraph

Robert Sheehan making an impressive stage debut

The Times

Ruth Negga is excellent

Evening Standard