In a Word . . . Review

Frank Pig had a cast of just two, David Gorry and Sean Rocks, the latter playing up to 14 different roles. Similarly with Riverdance. He didn’t speak to me for a long time afterwards. Attending so many productions can take its toll. And there was Frank Pig Says Hello, an adaptation by Pat McCabe of his novel The Butcher Boy. Most times. True wit is nature to advantage dressed. I refer to Alexander Pope. I wrote accordingly in the review. It is full of favourites. “A perfect judge will read each work of wit/With the same spirit that its author writ,” said one of my favourite Popes. “A little learning is a dang’rous thing. “Be not the first by whom the new are tried. He spat: “… For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Which brings me to the experience of being a theatre critic. Or yet the last to lay the old aside. As I was with the Irish Press for five years until 1995. The first night of Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa. Keeping awake was greatly assisted by composing the review there and then as the standard became clear. “To err is human, to forgive divine. We met on the opening night and he was very pleased with the by then published interview. Very, very foolish. I interviewed him for the paper prior to a staging of his adaptation of well known play. Wonderful. His adaptation was a bit of a shambles, not helped by a well-known singer who couldn’t act and a well known actor who couldn’t sing. You learned to be honest without being savage. that was a shit review”, got up out of his seat and changed carriages at the next station. What oft was thought but ne’re so well expressed. A few weeks later I saw him on a train and went up to say hello. That is from his 1709 Essay on Criticism. Not least as about 80 per cent was dross. And there was the angry playwright. There were stand-out moments. Review from the Latin re- + videre, to see again

inaword@irishtimes.com The primary duty was to the reader who might be about to waste his/her money, but this was tempered by a realisation that at any time the vast majority of actors in Dublin were out of work.