The Shaughraun

Previewed 25 May 2005, Opened 8 June 2005, Closed 30 July 2005 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London

The producers of Riverdance present the Abbey Theatre Dublin production of The Shaughraun in London with Don Wycherley in the title role directed by John McColgan.

Heroes... Villains... Lovers... Liars... and Laughter!... The Shaughraun or The Vagabond, Dion Boucicault's glorious romp of a 19th century Irish melodrama, comes into the West End following two sell-out seasons at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Delightfully tongue-in-cheek, this spectacular production will have you rooting for the star-crossed lovers, booing the dastardly villain and applauding the show-stealing talents of Tatters the loveable dog. The Shaughraun is a terrifically over-the-top, rollicking comedy that will carry you away with its fabulous choreography and infectious combination of laughter and energy.

The ensemble cast for The Shaughraun in London includes Don Wycherley in the title role. The production is directed by John McColgan with choreography by Colin Dunne and set designs by Francis O'Connor, costume designs by Joan O'Clery,lighting by Rupert Murray and music by David Downes.

"Who? Yes, well, a Shaughraun is an Irish rural character, a vagabond, a footloose but loyal trickster. In Dion Boucicault's famous play, Don Wycherley brings him to life not as the sly, twinkling leprechaun he's sometimes played as, but as a cunning, nimble operator, a kind-hearted but ruthless fighter... Boucicault's brilliance lies in his robust humour and in his ability to mock the very genre that made him famous. There's nothing quite like the Irish sending up the Irish, and John McColgan's direction gives the play the full panto/music-hall treatment, with the odd topical joke and a few juicy innuendos. Colin Dunne's choreography is breathtaking." The Sunday Times

"The director John McColgan clearly understands the word 'melodrama' to mean pantomime for adults, and there is therefore a lot of hissing whenever the Dick Dastardly-style baddie - consummately played by Stephen Brennan - shows his moustachioed face on stage... The Mutley to Brennan's Dastardly, by the way, is the staggeringly gifted David Pearse, and the two of them make up one of the funniest double-acts I've seen on the West End for a very long time. The whole thing goes down as smoothly as a large glass of fine Irish malt." The Sunday Telegraph

"Dion Boucicault was a 19th-century impresario who produced melodramas. He didn't just stage them. He put a rocket in their petticoats and sent them up although seldom as high as in this astonishing production from Dublin's Abbey Theatre company... The opening scenes could do with a trim. Ten minutes in, I was certainly looking at my watch. But once the Shaughraun's crazy mother (Anita Reeves) got going with her shrieks, once David Pearse had started doing a master comic turn as the villain's accomplice, and once the cast had tapped a few Riverdance-style musical numbers, we had lift-off. The Shaughraun was a huge hit in Dublin, attracting families and theatre newcomers in vast numbers. It might not do quite so well here, but it's a merry riot." The Daily Mail

"The pre-curtain announcement encouraging us to boo the baddies and cheer the goodies seemed superfluous since McColgan treats this tale, set in 1860s rural Sligo under English occupation, as unseasonal pantomime. Every audience aside, hissable conspiracy, swoon and blarney-filled anecdote is played to the crowd. There's more milking here than on a dairy farm... The production is like being force-fed too many sweets an initially enjoyable indulgence that makes you feel a little queasy by the end." The Times

"When I invited John McColgan to direct The Shaughraun at the Abbey as part of the abbeyonehundred celebrations in 2004, I was responding to two impulses. Bringing the director of Riverdance, one of the world's most successful shows, and the great entertainer of the late nineteenth century Dion Boucicault together was calculated to deliver a popular, entertaining hit for the Abbey as a counterpoint to the heavy artillery of the Irish and European repertoire that surrounded it. The second impulse had something to do with an acknowledgement that whether the Abbey playwrights of the Irish Revival reacted against the drama of Boucicault or shamelessly borrowed from it, his figure looms large and it is not fanciful to say that he is arguably the father of modern Irish drama. As such his presence in the Abbey centenary programme was appropriate. Following our appearance at the Barbican International Theatre Events earlier in the season with The Plough and the Stars, this is the second appearance of the Abbey in London this year and I hope London audiences enjoy the show as much as we enjoy playing it" Ben Barnes, Artistic Director of The Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

The Shaughraun in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 25 May 2005, opened on 8 June 2005 and closed on 30 July 2005.