Shining City at the Irish Repertory Theatre

Ten years after a successful and critically acclaimed Broadway production, the Irish Repertory Theatre’s revival of Conor McPherson’s Shining City has very, very big shoes to fill — and to our delight, fill them they have, indeed.

Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly and starring Matthew Broderick, Billy Carter, Lisa Dwan, and James Russell, Shining City is a play that, when distilled to its essence, conveys a simple, unassuming ghost story — both figuratively and literally, though the figurative is much more compelling in this case. Staged largely in an office flat in Dublin and revealed primarily through a series of sessions between a patient and his therapist, it is a narrative wherein the apparition functions as metaphor for guilt over decisions made, actions taken, words spoken (and unspoken), injuries received and secrets harbored, and where hauntings are just the external manifestations of profound and debilitating regrets.

Billy Carter and Lisa Dwan in SHINING CITY at Irish Rep. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

Billy Carter and Matthew Broderick in SHINING CITY at Irish Rep. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Photo credit: Carol RoseggOur measure for how good anything is — from a play to a concert, a museum exhibition to a poetry reading — comes down to the quality and length of the conversation that immediately follows its conclusion, and Shining City did not disappoint. Of particular note, we found Matthew Broderick’s turn as John captivating. We concluded that each time we see Mr. Broderick perform, he embraces ever more challenging material, and as a result, brings something new and unexpected to his craft. Another conversation involved the excellent direction of Ciarán O’Reilly, lighting design of Michael Gottlieb and set design of Charlie Corcoran, which were best showcased in quiet moments of transition in which the passage of time was beautifully captured by the subtle movement of set pieces and the representation of dusk, dawn, and myriad hours in-between.

Irish Repertory Theatre’s Shining City runs through July 3 at its newly-renovated theater in Chelsea.  Its intimate setting is the perfect incubator for the thought-provoking material.  For tickets and schedules, visit their website.

All Shining City photos are courtesy of Carol Rosegg.

132 W 22nd St

Pair it with:

Dinner at Boqueria

Boqueria NYC

Boqueria NYC

Boqueria NYC

Boqueria NYC

Having vacationed in Barcelona many, many years ago, we often find ourselves missing the rich character of Spanish food.  We are fortunate that New York City offers quite an array of options to fill the void.  Boqueria, with three convenient locations, offers a variety of tapas favorites, but it was the heartier Paella de Mariscos that brought us to their Flatiron location, conveniently located a stone’s throw away from the Irish Repertory Theatre. The contrasting textures of saffron-rich, fluffy-crispy Bomba rice, with salsa verde and a generous portion of seafood was very satisfying. But it was the starter of Gambas al Ajillo, with its hunk of crusty bread and brandy, garlic and pepper-infused olive oil that knocked our socks off.  Finishing off with churros was a no-brainer, but in addition to the traditional Churros con Chocolate option, Boqueria also offers Churros Rellenos, which are Nutella-filled instead.  Guess which one we picked?

53 W 19th St

Mon-Thurs 12pm-10:30pm (bar menu until 11pm)
Fri 12pm-11:30pm (bar menu until midnight)
Sat 11am-11:30pm (bar menu until midnight)
Sun 11am-10:30pm (bar menu until 11pm)

– J.

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