A Touch Of The Poet

  • Date:
    December 1, 2005

     

    Written by: Eugene O�Neill.
    Directed by: Doug Hughes
    Cast: Gabriel Byrne (Cornelius Melody) with Dearbhla Molloy (Nora Melody), Emily Bergl (Sara Melody), John Horton (Nicholas Gadsby), Byron Jennings (Jamie Cregan), Kathryn Meisle (Deborah), Randall Newsome (Paddy O�Dowd), Ciaran O�Reilly (Dan Roche) and Daniel Stewart Sherman (Mickey Maloy).
    Synopsis: Set in a shabby tavern outside Boston in 1828, an Irish immigrant fancies himself as a distinguished gentleman despite all evidence to the contrary. Down-on-his-luck, he finds himself in a quandary when his daughter falls for the son of a wealthy American and he insists on maintaining his European gentility.
     

    What the critics had to say.....

    BEN BRANTLEY of the NEW YORK TIMES:
    �Much of the cast appeared to be under the impression that this is a saggy comedy of manners, not a portrait of a family in hell. And the show's ideally cast star, Gabriel Byrne, playing one of O'Neill's self-dramatizing monster fathers, has barely shaken hands with the Olympian contradictions of his character, much less embraced them. Yet as soon as the second half of Doug Hughes's production of this seldom-seen drama begins you can sense the embers stirring within Mr. Byrne's Cornelius Melody. The audience has been allowed a rare glimpse of a thrilling process: an actor's taking hold of the reins of a runaway role and riding it for all it's worth. From that point on, Mr. Byrne remains in full gallop. Unfortunately no one else in this undercast, underdirected production begins to match his pace.�

    CLIVE BARNES of THE NEW YORK POST:
    "From his first posturing and preening, all given the shrewd distancing of an alcoholic glaze, through to his final, bloody and vainglorious defeat, Gabriel Byrne never puts a note in the wrong place, or casts a glance in the wrong direction. This is superb acting that represents Broadway at its rarely exalted best."

    HOWARD KISSEL of THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:
    "Director Doug Hughes has led a splendid cast, headed by Gabriel Byrne, in a revival that makes the seldom-revived "Poet" seem one of O'Neill's richest and most satisfying plays. This is a revival to be treasured."

    ELYSA GARDNER of the USA TODAY:
    "The cast, under Doug Hughes' reverent but spirited direction, ensures that the emotions and history binding these characters are as vivid as the dynamics threatening to tear them apart."

    LINDA WINER of NEWSDAY:
    "The result is majestic and annoying, fascinating and boring. As directed by Hughes ("Doubt"), Byrne flipflops from bluster to confession, from insult to apology, from sentence to sentence, even from subject to predicate."

    David Cote of TIME OUT NEW YORK:
    "O�Neill�s winning streak continues with the Roundabout Theatre Company's rich and satisfying revival of his lesser-known period drama. Under Doug Hughes� pitch-perfect direction, Byrne combines the right degree of charm and sorrow to make us almost feel sorry for his alcoholic antihero."

    FRANK SCHECK of THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:
    "Although it might be a bit heavy-going for the tourist crowd, Roundabout subscribers and discerning theatergoers will not want to miss this limited engagement."

    External links to full reviews from newspapers

    New York Times
    New York Post
    New York Daily News
    USA Today
    Newsday
    Hollywood Reporter