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Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin
(Stage Manager)
The Jack Burdell Experience
13th Feb 2012 -  18th Feb 2012 


MUSE UNBIDDEN – REVIEW. By JOHN O’RIORDAN - PUBLIC SECTOR TIMES. March 2012 issue.

Roger Gregg’s The Muse Unbidden at Smock Alley Theatre Lr. Exchange St. Temple Bar.

One goes to the theatre in hope and expectation of having the sort of evening that ‘The Muse Unbidden’ provides. The play is set in a creative writing workshop, conducted by a teacher who is a zealous promoter of performance poetry. He argues cogently that, until the advent of printing, all poetry, including the great classic poetry, was performance poetry. The opposite view is taken by one of the members of his workshop. She insists that poetry needs the discipline of writing and print to reach its true aesthetic. While the play is ostensibly about writing, it is really about people learning to find their own distinctive ‘voice’, - to ‘find’ themselves; they have but to ‘respond to their muse’. It is dramatic, very funny, insightful, deeply moving, beautifully written and brilliantly constructed. The characters are lightly but vividly etched. Kelly, the neurotically shy character, confesses that she is only ‘pharmaceutically present, seen but not heard”. Another says bitterly about this country, that it is where ‘the scum (and not the cream) have come to the top’.
This superb theatrical piece, which just begs for a wider audience, is written and directed by Roger Gregg. The performers (who also play percussion and instrumental continuo at appropriate dramatic moments) are all astonishingly good. The cast names are not related to characters on the programme, and they are all deservedly credited, Donncha O’ Dea, Moe Dunford, Noni Stapleton, Aine Ní Laoghaire, Gina Costigan and Jill Harding


(L-R) Moe Dunford, Elliot Moriarty, Gina Costigan, Roger Gregg, Aine Ni Laoghaire, Noni Stapleton, Jill Harding, Donncha O'Dea, Jaye Palmer
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