Theatre: The Merchant of Venice at St. Enda’s Park, Dublin


21–24 June 2017, 8pm

Balally Players takes Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to St. Enda’s Park Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin for its Summer Shakespeare 2017 presentation.

The play, directed by Fiona Walsh, will be performed outdoors in the Walled Garden, St. Enda’s Park from 21 to 24 June 2017. The performance starts at 8pm each evening and tickets (€14/€12) may be booked at the Mill Theatre Box Office (01-296 9340) or on the Mill Theatre website.

For further details go to


Review: Hamlet, Mill Productions

Hamlet, the Mill Theatre, Dundrum, dir. Geoff O’Keeffe

Review by Kaitlyn Culliton and Ema Vyroubalova (Trinity College Dublin)


The Mill Theatre’s in-house company presents this energetic fast-paced Hamlet, which this academic year replaced King Lear as the Shakespeare fare on the Leaving Certificate in English. The energy of the production directed by Geoff O’Keeffe is driven in particular by the youthful Hamlet (Shane O’Regan), who infuses his performance of the demanding part with a rebellious teenage spirit. Regan’s performance is also highly physical. Unlike many other Hamlets, he brings in a surprisingly “athletic” take on the role, as he constantly moves, sometimes even runs and leaps, around the set. He also engages physically with the other characters, even where Shakespeare’s script does not explicitly require it.

What comes across as Hamlet’s aggressive rapport towards many of the other protagonists is, however, offset by his relationship with Horatio (Stephen O’Leary). The chemistry between the two characters, which suggests a deep and intimate (though not overtly sexual) bond, seems to function as a pillar supporting much of the production’s tragic heft. This Hamlet appears to trust Horatio fully and that trust is reciprocated with unrelenting loyalty even as Hamlet’s psyche starts to deteriorate under the extreme circumstances.

The tragic force generated by this relationship contrasts sharply with the comedic Polonius (Damien Devaney), who in this production comes across as a thoroughly clownish figure. He integrates both verbal and physical humor into his performance, which readily registers both with the other characters and with the actual audience. For instance, his repeated appearances on stage prompt ever-increasing levels of annoyance in Claudius (Neill Flemming). Polonius’s presence on stage indeed becomes something akin to a running joke, eventually eliciting laughter almost automatically by virtue of promise of further amusement. Even his murder is executed in a farcical spirit with other characters and the audience almost breathing a sigh of relief as he is dispatched.

Polonius’s death is nonetheless deeply mourned by Ophelia (Clara Harte), whose descent into mental instability is clinched by it, after she has already suffered through abuse and dismissals at the hands of both her father and Hamlet. Yet even as she descends into the inevitable madness, she delivers her lines with a clarity paired with purposeful action: for example, the passage about flowers (often played as an indicator of her lack of sanity) is here delivered as a haunting lament for her absent father complemented by use of actual flowers. Gertrude (Claire O’Donovan) also brings into her character a sense of intricately developed psychology. Her scenes with Hamlet in the closet are disturbingly poignant as an unmistakable Oedipal dynamic unfolds between the mother and son.

The austerity of Gerard Bourke’s set contrasts with the colorful characters. The minimalist concrete backdrop sometimes doubles as a makeshift screen for special digital effects (by Declan Brennan) that are projected onto it. The whole play opens with Hamlet standing under a digital deluge of water, suggestive of the themes of cleansing and much needed renewal. The Ghost of Hamlet’s father haunts these bare grey surfaces in his blue digitally-projected form and it is interesting to note that he is played by the same actor as Claudius. This of course opens the production up to many fascinating interpretations for both general audiences and secondary students studying the play formally this year!

–Kaitlyn Culliton and Ema Vyroubalova (Trinity College Dublin)

Mill Productions will be staging Romeo and Juliet at the Mill Theatre, Dundrum in February and March 2017.

Theatre: Hamlet, Mill Productions, 5–28 October

Venue: Mill Theatre, Dundrum, County Dublin
Date: 5–28 October
Show time: 10am Mon–Fri, Tuesdays at 1.30pm, Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7.30pm
Admission:  €20/€18
SCHOOL GROUP BOOKINGS: €15 per student
From the website:

Mill Productions present Shakespeare’s HAMLET

After our highly successful run of KING LEAR last October we are very happy to announce our next Shakespearian production of HAMLET.

This traditional production, directed by Geoff O’Keeffe, remains faithful to the original text and will find resonances with Leaving Certificate students. Give us a call today to book your preferred date as we have quite a few dates fully booked already.

Wednesday 5th October to Friday 28th October
from 10th October: Monday to Friday at 10am
Afternoon performances every Tuesday at 1.30pm


• Call us on 01-2969340 or email

• €15 per student

• 1 Teacher per 20 students goes free

• 20% deposit required to secure booking

• Full payment due 2 weeks before performance date



Review: King Lear, Mill Productions

King Lear, by Mill Productions at Mill Theatre Dundrum

Reviewed by Kaitlyn Culliton and Ema Vyroubalova

With King Lear currently on the English Leaving Certificate, this rendition of the Shakespeare classic primarily has the secondary school audience in mind but won’t disappoint adult Shakespeare enthusiasts and theatre-lovers.

One of the greater accomplishments of the production is its ability to compress the original Renaissance play-text (which often runs up to four hours in performance) into a briskly-paced show that lasts just over two hours without sacrificing any of the characters, major plot and thematic points or well-known passages.

The cast of Mill Theatre’s inhouse company features a slightly younger and more vibrant Lear (Lenny Hayden) than has been usual in other contemporary productions of the play. His daughters are fully encapsulated in carefully constructed and individualized theatrical identities: Goneril’s (Eilish Rafferty) cruelty is more tempered as well as justifiably opportunistic while Regan’s (Sarah Joyce) genuinely sadistic persona with its nefarious motivations comes across as a real driving force behind the tragedy. From the other characters, the Fool (Shane O’Regan) stands out as equally lewd and prophetic, bringing out the meaning buried in his comedic role through both a physically and verbally masterful interpretation of the character.

Gerard Bourke provides an abstract minimalistic set, consisting of three slender triangular pyramids set on a platform and surrounded by a metal railing topped with multiple spheres. The whole construction is evocative of the central concerns of the play: the royal crown, the sisterly trio, and the influence of celestial bodies on human fates. This seemingly simple set is nonetheless fully utilized as the actors integrate it into their performances, making it alternatively into a prop, a backdrop, and even a gymnastic apparatus. The artistic merit of the production is borne out both by successive full houses and performances added to the month-long run due to popular demand.

10:00 am performances in October: 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

1:30 pm performances in October: 13, 20

7:30 pm performances in October: 14, 21, 22

Directed by Geoff O’Keeffe; tickets: €14 Students and €18 Regular.

More information and ticket sales:

Theatre: Othello, Mill Productions

School Shows: 10am
Evening Performances Wednesday and Thursday 8th,9th. 15th,16th,22nd,23rd


Following on from the success of Macbeth, Mill Productions are delighted to announce our forthcoming production of Shakespeare’s Othello directed by Geoff O’Keeffe.

This timeless tragedy is an astonishing tale of fierce passions and murderous ambition – a thrilling examination of the power of love and the destructiveness of suspicion. When Othello, the highly regarded general, secretly marries Desdemona, jealousies around their pairing and Othello’s rise to prominence are unleashed, piling secret upon secret, and betrayal upon betrayal. Within a claustrophobic and overwhelming environment, and haunted by the seeds of destruction that are sown by Iago, Shakespeare’s master manipulator, Othello becomes weighed down with grief and suspicion. His is not so much a journey, but a rapid descent from majestic dignity to deluded rage. It is a domestic tragedy that explodes in a furious riot of pain and anguish. This fast paced and visually engaging production, while remaining faithful to the original text, will find resonances with Leaving certificate students.

Strong central performances from an excellent professional cast in a muscular, visceral and highly accessible show make this a satisfying Othello for both student and non-student alike.

Starring Steve Hartland, Robert Fawsitt, Keith Hanna, Nichola MacEvilly and Siobhan Cullen.

This production is the Royal Shakespeare Company version abridged. 

Running time: 2hrs 30mins.

Please call the box office for group/school bookings: 01-2969340

For full details: