Rory and the Devil

Critics

LemonMeter

Reviews: 1

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 3

Rory and the Devil A New Play by David McElwee
During the height of The Troubles, in a rural pub on the border of Northern Ireland, Mary Friel, a barmaid, strives to maintain harmony amongst the men in her life. Ancestral legends and secrets are revisited and a cycle of violence is revealed: can they forgive injustice and cruelty from their past, or will the cycle continue?
Enjoy a Guinness and whiskey as a group of actors take you to Neil Friel's pub--a safe place for a good story--until it isn't. In this bare bones production of Rory and the Devil you can enjoy the best of what Irish storytelling has to offer.

Reviews

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This production is truly special. Playwright David McElwee clearly crafted this play from the heart. After the show, I found out that certain aspects of the story were based on details of his life, family, and heritage, but never once did I suspect this was a vanity project; the play was a love letter to poetry, theater, storytelling, mythology, and most importantly, to Ireland. The staging and introduction to the play were pure magic. I won’t give anything away, but if you know that feeling of entering a neighborhood pub—the comfort, the melancholy, the familiarity, the history—that’s how I felt entering the theater space, even with its barely-there set, well-lit audience, and tins of beer all around. Every actor in this play gave top-notch performances; they are the real deal, and they delivered Broadway-level artistry. Considering I was sitting feet away from their bodies and voices, I was never more than a fly on the wall as single tear drops, beads of sweat, and understated sighs resonated with sincerity and simplicity. John Harnagle’s “moment” (again, I won’t give anything away) is why I go to the theater: poetic language, vivid imagery, and a heightened delivery that changes the atmosphere and makes time stand still. But truth be told, Jennifer Lane Oakley stole the show. She has that thing thing that so many performers don’t have the skill or confidence to settle into: stillness. She embodied her character with a grounded understatement that made her “moment” (not gonna give it away) wash over me with such shocking resonance that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…even though it all made sense afterwards due to the subtle progression of her character’s development. Her physical beauty, which is a joy to consume, steadily fades as her character’s truth and motivations emerge from behind her dark eyes. She tricks you into thinking she’s just the lass-next-door. But really, she is a feminist icon who embodies love of family and country more than any outspoken lad ever could.

sweet - Jessica Durdock Moreno


Avatar

McElwee shows great promise as a writer; Rory and the Devil is his first produced play, and it is a vibrant, powerful and  excellent piece of work.  He is to be praised as well for his directorial skill and for the way he achieves maximum results with his actors. A skilled bunch, they come through with full-blooded performances that resonate long after the play ends.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


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As a history nerd I was hooked immediately as I am familiar with the Irish-British conflict of yesteryear. The script perfectly humanized characters and showed how otherwise decent people, who under normal circumstances could be friends or lovers, can hate each other due to tribal conflict or nationalism. The cast was excellent with Jennifer Lane Oakley a particular highlight with her understated performance that pulls the piece towards its disturbing but inevitable climax. It's a nice slow burn towards a chilling climax built by excellent actors executing a solid script. If you’re into history or just good theater, check it out.

sweet - Matt Morillo


Avatar

History and myth collide in this darkly funny yet deeply heartfelt story that takes place during The Troubles in 1970s Ireland. Fantastic acting, writing, and direction. I laughed, cried, and learned quite a bit about an important time in Irish history. The pace and tone are handled beautifully, and I found myself constantly surprised throughout. It’s a wonderful play worth seeing twice to catch snippets and clues you might have missed the first time around. Do not miss this show!

sweet - Cassie Keet


Avatar

McElwee shows great promise as a writer; Rory and the Devil is his first produced play, and it is a vibrant, powerful and  excellent piece of work.  He is to be praised as well for his directorial skill and for the way he achieves maximum results with his actors. A skilled bunch, they come through with full-blooded performances that resonate long after the play ends.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

This production is truly special. Playwright David McElwee clearly crafted this play from the heart. After the show, I found out that certain aspects of the story were based on details of his life, family, and heritage, but never once did I suspect this was a vanity project; the play was a love letter to poetry, theater, storytelling, mythology, and most importantly, to Ireland. The staging and introduction to the play were pure magic. I won’t give anything away, but if you know that feeling of entering a neighborhood pub—the comfort, the melancholy, the familiarity, the history—that’s how I felt entering the theater space, even with its barely-there set, well-lit audience, and tins of beer all around. Every actor in this play gave top-notch performances; they are the real deal, and they delivered Broadway-level artistry. Considering I was sitting feet away from their bodies and voices, I was never more than a fly on the wall as single tear drops, beads of sweat, and understated sighs resonated with sincerity and simplicity. John Harnagle’s “moment” (again, I won’t give anything away) is why I go to the theater: poetic language, vivid imagery, and a heightened delivery that changes the atmosphere and makes time stand still. But truth be told, Jennifer Lane Oakley stole the show. She has that thing thing that so many performers don’t have the skill or confidence to settle into: stillness. She embodied her character with a grounded understatement that made her “moment” (not gonna give it away) wash over me with such shocking resonance that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…even though it all made sense afterwards due to the subtle progression of her character’s development. Her physical beauty, which is a joy to consume, steadily fades as her character’s truth and motivations emerge from behind her dark eyes. She tricks you into thinking she’s just the lass-next-door. But really, she is a feminist icon who embodies love of family and country more than any outspoken lad ever could.

sweet - Jessica Durdock Moreno


Avatar

As a history nerd I was hooked immediately as I am familiar with the Irish-British conflict of yesteryear. The script perfectly humanized characters and showed how otherwise decent people, who under normal circumstances could be friends or lovers, can hate each other due to tribal conflict or nationalism. The cast was excellent with Jennifer Lane Oakley a particular highlight with her understated performance that pulls the piece towards its disturbing but inevitable climax. It's a nice slow burn towards a chilling climax built by excellent actors executing a solid script. If you’re into history or just good theater, check it out.

sweet - Matt Morillo


Avatar

History and myth collide in this darkly funny yet deeply heartfelt story that takes place during The Troubles in 1970s Ireland. Fantastic acting, writing, and direction. I laughed, cried, and learned quite a bit about an important time in Irish history. The pace and tone are handled beautifully, and I found myself constantly surprised throughout. It’s a wonderful play worth seeing twice to catch snippets and clues you might have missed the first time around. Do not miss this show!

sweet - Cassie Keet