Juno and the Paycock

Play by Sean O'Casey. Set during the Irish Civil War, Juno and the Paycock tells the story of an improverished family living in a Dublin tenement who suddenly inherit a fortune, signalling the end of all their hardships. Sean O'Casey's masterpiece, written in 1924, is a devastatingly moving study of heroism and cowardice. Celebrated for its wonderful characters and caustic wit, the play remains one of the classic works of the 20th century theatre and has been regularly revived in the West End since it's London Premiere in 1925.

Original London West End Production (Royalty and Fortune Theatres) - 1925

1st West End Revival (Criterion and Vaudeville Theatres) - 1927

London Revival (Little Theatre) - 1934

2nd West End Revival (Haymarket and Saville Theatres) - 1937

London Revival (Theatre Royal Stratford) - 1953

3rd West End Revival (National Theatre at Old Vic Theatre) - 1966

London Revival (Mermaid Theatre) - 1973

4th West End Revival (RSC at Aldwych Theatre) - 1980

London Revival (National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre) - 1989

5th West End Revival (Albery and Wyndham's Theatres)- 1993

London Revival (Donmar Warehouse) - 1999

London Revival (National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre) - 2011

This is the 'middle' play in Sean O'Casey's 'Dublin Trilogy' that includes The Shadow of a Gunman (1923) and The Plough and the Stars (1926).

Original London West End Production - 1925

Opened 16 November 1925, Closed 6 March 1926 at the Royalty Theatre (now demolished)
Transferred 8 March 1926, Closed 8 May 1926 at the Fortune Theatre

Presented by The Irish Players. The original cast featured Arthur Sinclair as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Sara Allgood as 'Juno Boyle', Harry Hutchinson as 'Johnny Boyle', Kathleen O'Regan as 'Mary Boyle', Sydney Morgan as ''Joxer' Daly', Maire O'Neill as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', J A O'Rourke as ''Needle' Nugent', Kitty Kirwan as 'Mrs Tancred', David Morris as 'Jerry Devine' and Eric Page as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by James Bernard Fagan with designs by Simpson Robinson.

The 650-seater Royalty Theatre was located at 72-74 Dean Street, Soho, and is now an office block named 'Royalty House'.

1st West End Revival - 1927

Opened 24 January 1927, Closed 12 February 1927 at the Criterion Theatre
Transferred 14 February 1927, Closed 19 March 1927 at the Vaudeville Theatre

Presented by The Irish Players. The original cast featured Arthur Sinclair as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Sara Allgood as 'Juno Boyle', Harry Hutchinson as 'Johnny Boyle', Veronica Turleigh as 'Mary Boyle', Sydney Morgan as ''Joxer' Daly', Marie O'Neill as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', J A O'Rourke as ''Needle' Nugent', Kitty Kirwan as 'Mrs Tancred' Eugene Quinn as 'Jerry Devine' and Fred O'Donovan as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by James Bernard Fagan and designed by Simpson Robinson.

London Revival (Little Theatre) - 1934

Opened 1 March 1934, Closed 17 March 1934 at the Little Theatre (now demolished)

Presented by The Irish Players. Arthur Sinclair as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Maire O'Neill as 'Juno Boyle', Harry Hutchinson as 'Johnny Boyle', Joyce Chancellor as 'Mary Boyle', Fred O'Donovan as ''Joxer' Daly', Kathleen Drago as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', J A O'Rourke as ''Needle' Nugent', Rose Murray as 'Mrs Tancred', David Morris as 'Jerry Devine' and E J Kennedy as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Arthur Sinclair.

The 371-seater Little Theatre at Adelphi was located in a converted banking hall on the north side of John Street, now John Adam Street. An office block named 'Adelphi' now covers the area that included the theatre.

2nd West End Revival - 1937

Opened 9 August 1937, Closed 4 September 1937 at the Haymarket Theatre
Transferred 6 September 1937, Closed 2 October 1937 at the Saville Theatre (now Odeon Covent Garden Cinema)

The cast original featured Arthur Sinclair as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Sara Allgood as 'Juno Boyle', John Irwin as 'Johnny Boyle', Vera Cook as 'Mary Boyle', Tony Quinn as ''Joxer' Daly', Maire O'Neill as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', J C Bland as ''Needle' Nugent', Kitty Kirwan as 'Mrs Tancred' Robert Samson as 'Jerry Devine' and Charles Peters as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Arthur Sinclair.

London Revival (Theatre Royal Stratford) - 1953

Opened 16 March 1953, Closed 28 March 1953 at the Theatre Royal Stratford

The cast featured George Cooper as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Avis Bunnage as 'Juno Boyle', George Luscombe as 'Johnny Boyle', Anna Korwin as 'Mary Boyle', Harry Corbett as ''Joxer' Daly', Joan Littlewood as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', Joby Blanshard as ''Needle' Nugent', Leila Greenwood as 'Mrs Tancred', Gerry Raffles as 'Jerry Devine' and John Bury as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Joan Littlewood.

3rd West End Revival (National Theatre) - 1966

Opened 26 April 1966, Closed 8 October 1966 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre

Presented by the National Theatre. The cast featured Colin Blakely as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Joyce Redman as 'Juno Boyle', Ronald Pickup as 'Johnny Boyle', Caroline John as 'Mary Boyle', Frank Finlay as ''Joxer' Daly', Madge Ryan as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', Harry Lomax as ''Needle' Nugent', Maggie Riley as 'Mrs Tancred', Michael Gambon as 'Jerry Devine' and Peter Cellier as 'Charles Bentham'. The cast also included Anthony Hopkins as 'an Irregular' and Christopher Timothy as 'a Neighbour'. Directed by Laurence Olivier with designs by Carmen Dillon and lighting by Richard Pilbrow and John B Read.

London Revival (Mermaid Theatre) - 1973

Opened 2 July 1973, Closed 25 August 1973 at the Mermaid Theatre

The cast featured Patrick Layde as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Siobhan McKenna as 'Juno Boyle', Niall Buggy as 'Johnny Boyle', Leslie Lalor as 'Mary Boyle', Brendan Cauldwell as ''Joxer' Daly', Eithne Dunne as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', John Rogan as ''Needle' Nugent', Geraldine Plunkett as 'Mrs Tancred', Dermot Crowley as 'Jerry Devine' and Shane Connaughton as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Sean Kenny and Siobhan McKenna with designs by Sean Kenny and lighting by Roger Weaver.

Sean Kenny was originally scheduled to both direct and design this production. Sadly, just as rehearsals were starting, Sean Kenny suffered a stroke and died on 11 June 1973. Siobhan McKenna, who was playing 'Juno' in the production, took over as co-director.

4th West End Revival (RSC) - 1980

Previewed 1 October 1980, Opened 7 October 1980, Closed 8 November 1980 at the Aldwych Theatre
Returned 27 January 1981, Closed 18 March 1981 (in repertory) at the Aldwych Theatre

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The cast featured Norman Rodway as ''Captain' Jack Boyle' and Judi Dench as 'Juno Boyle', Gerard Murphy as 'Johnny Boyle', Dearbhla Molloy as 'Mary Boyle', John Rogan as ''Joxer' Daly', Doreen Keogh as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', Ritchie Stewart as ''Needle' Nugent', Marie Kean as 'Mrs Tancred', Frank Grimes as 'Jerry Devine' and Bryan Murray as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Trevor Nunn with sets by John Gunter, costumes by Lindy Hemming, lighting by David Hersey and sound by John A Leonard and Roland Morrow.

London Revival (National Theatre) - 1989

Previewed 16 February 1989, Opened 22 February 1989, Closed 10 June 1989 (in repertory) at the Lyttelton Theatre

The cast featured Tony Haygarth as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Linda Bassett as 'Juno Boyle', Linus Roache as 'Johnny Boyle', Rosalind Bennett as 'Mary Boyle', Tom Hickey as ''Joxer' Daly', Aine Ni Mhuiri as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', Derry Power as ''Needle Nugent', Pauline Delaney as 'Mrs Tancred', Fabian Cartwright as 'Jerry Devine' and Richard Bonneville as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Peter Gill with designs by Deirdre Clancy, costumes supervised by Carrie Bayliss, lighting by Mark Seaman and sound by Paul Groothuis.

5th West End Revival - 1993

Previewed 17 May 1993, Opened 19 May 1993, Closed 19 June 1993 at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)
Returned 13 July 1993, Closed 14 August 1993 at the Wyndham's Theatre

The original cast featured Niall Buggy as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Anita Reeves as 'Juno Boyle', Tom Murphy as 'Johnny Boyle', Antoine Byrne as 'Mary Boyle', Mark Lambert as ''Joxer' Daly', Nuala Hayes as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', Derry Power as ''Needle Nugent', Maire Hastings as 'Mrs Tancred', Alan Mooney as 'Jerry Devine' and Peter Gowen as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Joe Dowling with set by Frank Hallinan Flood, costumes by Frances Boston and lighting by Rupert Murray.

"While this version of the Sean O'Casey classic is undoubtedly a distinguished piece of work, it's also a bit slow and heavy-handed in parts and, though affecting, may well leave your core unstirred... Niall Buggy never allows 'Captain' Boyle to become winningly Falstaffian in his self-serving fantasies, nor his resilience to seem much more than pig-headed impercipience. When Anita Reeves's Juno says that her daughter's baby will have what's far better than a father - two mothers - you could feel the audience itching to cheer. Yet it is reputable Joxer who is central to Dowling's interpretation, a symbol of the poverty that grimly persisted in Dublin through the vicissitudes in civil strife." The Independent

"First seen in 1986, Joe Dowling's Gate Theatre Dublin production of Juno And The Paycock has put a girdle round about the earth. Now at last it reaches parochial London still looking like one of the great O'Casey revivals. The strengths of Dowling's production can be quickly stated: its realistic evocation of social poverty and its totally unsentimental view of O'Casey's characters... No crevice of the play is left unexplored: I had never noticed before the comprehensiveness of O'Casey's disillusion with nationalist, political and religious extremism." The Guardian

"Joe Dowling's radically rethought production, originally seen at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in 1988, has already been shown to Broadway where The New York Times called it 'one of the most exciting productions of the decade'. This judgment says more about Broadway than it reveals of Dowling's achievement. While his insights are both intelligent and effective, excitement is not the emotion they induce. Sustained interest, perhaps... This is a firmly naturalistic production. Dowling has fleshed out O'Casey's meagre stage directions with a wealth of little actions substantiating his two main changes: stronger emphasis on the poverty and strong criticism of the work-shy Captain Boyle and his dreadful crony, Joxer... The play becomes a terrible portrait of male unworthiness. Only in the women does O'Casey offer any hope for Ireland's future. In Antoine Byrne's Mary, touching in her hysterical grief, and in the commanding performance of Anita Reeves as Juno, alert and finally resolute. With the drink-sodden or murderous men on offer, Mary's illegitimate child will certainly do better, as Juno says, with two mothers in place of one father." The Times

Juno and the Paycock in London at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre) previewed from 17 May 1993, opened on 19 May 1993 and closed on 19 June 1993, returned Wyndham's Theatre from 13 July 1993 and closed on 14 August 1993

London Revival (Donmar Warehouse) - 1999

Previewed 9 September 1999, Opened 20 September 1999, Closed 6 November 1999 at the Donmar Warehouse

The cast featured Colm Meaney as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Dearbhla Molloy as 'Juno Boyle', William Ash as 'Johnny Boyle', Renee Weldon as 'Mary Boyle', Ron Cook as ''Joxer' Daly', Bernadette Shortt as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', Helen Ryan as 'Mrs Tancred', Stephen Kennedy as 'Jerry Devine' and Jonathan Bond as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by John Crowley with designs by Rae Smith, lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Fergus O'Hare.

"The story of the Dublin Boyles - Juno, the wife and mother fighting for the survival of her family, her workshy, strutting 'peacock' of a husband and their son and daughter - is vividly brought to life in John Crowley's new production at the Donmar Warehouse in London. Colm Meaney preens as the self-styled Captain Jack, blind to the harsh realities that threaten his daughter's happiness and his son's very life. It is a tremendous performance, as is Ron Cook's portrayal of Joxer Daly, the Captain's wheedling crony for whom disloyalty comes as naturally as swallowing when so much as a drop of the hard stuff is left unguarded. Their scenes together are uproarious. But the play revolves around the long-suffering Juno and here Dearbhla Molloy, a consummate stage actress, brings a lump to the throat... When she weeps, we weep. It's a great play and one that anyone perplexed by events just across the Irish Sea should scurry to see. And that's no blarney." The News of the World

"John Crowley's dark, tense but restrained production reveals the play as a fierce tragicomedy of anger and exasperation... He handles the emotion and the rhetoric with great tact and deep feeling, but also with a savage restraint that makes it more harrowingly effective. For example, I have never seen the lament of Mrs Tancred, usually a moment of florid melodrama, more sombrely and movingly done. The drawback here is that the excellent acting exposes the occasional weaknesses of O'Casey's writing: the moments when the stage is briefly taken over by the same florid sentimentality and gut-wrenching platitudes he so disliked in the demagogues of his time. There is a superlative Joxer from Ron Cook: a podgy, ferrety little predator with all the treacherous cruelty and obscene greed of predators." The Sunday Times

"Written and set in the Twenties in a Dublin tenement during the fighting between the Free-Staters and the Republican Diehards, the play charts the fortunes of a strong Catholic woman and her feckless husband. News of an inheritance puts whiskey in their glasses but when the money fails to materialise, everything crashes down on them. The unmarried daughter gets pregnant ('worse than consumption'), the crippled son who informed on a colleague is murdered... Like a pint chased by the hard stuff, this is a comedy chased by grief. Occasionally the quality of the writing takes your breath away, but the play itself falls a bit short of a masterpiece. While it works as a metaphor for the poisoned inheritance of Ireland, it doesn't quite satisfy as a portrait of a marriage. John Crowley's thoughtful production lacks intensity and misses the sense of impending catastrophe, and there's too little suggestion of wretched, grinding poverty." The Mail on Sunday

Juno and the Paycock in London at the Donmar Warehouse previewed from 9 September 1999, opened on 20 September 1999 and closed on 6 November 1999

London Revival (National Theatre) - 2011

Previewed 11 November 2011, Opened 16 November 2011, Closed 26 February 2012 (in repertory) at the Lyttelton Theatre

Presented by the National Theatre in a co-production with the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. The cast featured Ciaran Hinds as ''Captain' Jack Boyle', Sinead Cusack as 'Juno Boyle', Ronan Raftery as 'Johnny Boyle', Clare Dunne as 'Mary Boyle', Risteard Cooper as ''Joxer' Daly', Janet Moran as 'Mrs Maisie Madigan', Dermot Kerrigan as ''Needle' Nugent', Bernadette McKenna as 'Mrs Tancred', Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as 'Jerry Devine' and Nick Lee as 'Charles Bentham'. Directed by Howard Davies with designs by Bob Crowley, lighting by James Farncombe, music by Anna Rice and sound by Ben Delaney.

When this production opened at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in November 2011, Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail highlighted that, "starring Sinead Cusack and Ciaran Hinds in the title roles, it is a mesmerising mix of comedy and tragedy... Nothing becomes the production so well as the harrowing appearance of a mother from across the hall mourning her murdered son. Beautifully handled by Davies, this moment slices through the merriment and typifies a stirring production." Paul Callan in the Daily Express noted that the production "contains memorable performances. Sinead Cusack gives depth and understanding as the put-upon Juno... Ciaran Hinds perfectly catches the nuances of Captain Jack... Clare Dunne brings a touch of pathos to Mary... The drunken scenes between Captain Jack and Joxer Daly (the excellent Risteard Cooper) are a subtle combination of hilarity and pathos... There is a beautiful and thoughtful power to Sean O'Casey's dramas that make this one of Ireland's greatest plays." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph thought it was "a staging that while good in parts, never quite achieves the seamless flow of mood from wild comedy to deepest tragedy... The play's final minutes, in which death and disgrace give way to a scene of lurching drunkenness that is as bleakly comic as anything in Beckett are superbly achieved. And when it settles down this patchy production of a masterpiece might just become a great one." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times wrote that "neither the mordant comedy nor the pathos of Sean O'Casey's great play is sufficiently evoked here to cue our emotional response... By the time Sinead Cusack's always impressive Juno moves in the final act into a threnody that is Greek-tragic in its intensity, it is too late... O'Casey's play is here set before us with little plausibility or consequence." Siobhan Murphy in the London Metro said that, "frustratingly, it remains too polite to drive home the sharp anger and wrenching grief O'Casey displays for the poverty-wracked Boyle family... Sinead Cusack's put-upon Juno jousts impressively with her layabout spouse but when the play's threatened horrors finally arrive, she carries her last bereft speech with a touching, tucked-in despair. Even so, this Juno is not as moving as you should expect." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard explained that "the trouble with Howard Davies's elegant production is that it lacks vital degrees of gradation. Sinead Cusack, who admittedly rallies for a terrific final scene, still looks miserable when things temporarily go well for the Boyles; Ciaran Hinds still looks jolly when all is woe. Throughout these twists of fortune, the events being recounted never come to matter to us all that much." Paul Taylor in the Independent described how "the most obtrusive - and the most questionable - feature of Howard Davies's revival of Juno and the Paycock is the monumental design by Bob Crowley... Sean O'Casey's gutting tragicomedy shows us the Boyle family disintegrating through internal and external pressures as they struggle to survive in their two-room Dublin tenement. Here, though, they seem to be living in a ghostly palace. Intent on evoking the faded Georgian grandeur of the building, the production strands the actors in a massive visual hymn to fetching distressed chic... With mawkish interlude music... this revival too often feels like polished heritage theatre."

When this production was seen at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in October 2011, prior to transferring to London's National Theatre, Dominic Maxwell in the Times complained that "Bob Crowley's design is simply too handsome by half. If this family never entirely convinces as a unit - fractured though it's supposed to be - it may be because the squalid tenement flat is actually a tennis court-sized former ballroom (or so it looks) whose bare floorboards and elegantly peeling walls have nothing dirty or cramped about them... So Howard Davies's revival is too stately to catch fire... there are decent performances... and there are moments where the writing still leaps out at you as if it were written yesterday... A stifled production, a great play." Lyn Gardner in the Guardian said that, "sadly, this Juno and the Paycock is not quite squalid enough in Howard Davies's overly well-mannered revival... Poverty is not pretty, but somehow it manages to be in Davies's production, where even the wallpaper blisters artfully in Bob Crowley's design, the light always falls exquisitely, and the between-act music sounds like something you might hear in an Irish airport lift... There is nothing lovable about Boyle and Joxer; nothing sentimental in O'Casey's savagely clear-eyed look at frail humanity. But you wouldn't know it from this revival."

Juno and the Paycock in London at the NT Lyttelton Theatre previewed from 11 November 2011, opened on 16 November 2011 and closed on 26 February 2012 (in repertory)