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Deirdre of the Sorrows by J M Synge
Directed and Designed by Sam Shammas
Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
Wednesday 28th April - Sunday 16th May 1999, 7.45pm

"...the plangent music of Synge�s text [is] delivered in the proper manner. Director/designer Sam Shammas�s studio production makes the most of its small stage. It�s good to savour Synge at such close quarters, but the reason to go is a rapt and beautiful performance by Catherine Harvey as Deirdre."
Patrick Carnegy, The Spectator, 8th May 1999

"There�s a confident sweep to Synge�s lyrical writing, passionately celebrating love, wilfulness and youth that is very difficult to resist. The set, designed by Shammas, is simple yet impressive: for a scene in the woods, ropes hang from the ceiling as trees, from which the carefree lovers can swing; later these are tied together to form an ominous arch over the doomed pair. The costumes too are handsome; in her pearls and brocades and with her creamy skin and appropriately burnished hair, Catherine Harvey makes a fine, impish Deirdre. Justin Brett [makes a] slightly swaggering Naisi. Their gentle rapport adds sheen to the lighter moments."
Maddy Costa, Time Out, 12th May 1999

"This production, by Sam Shammas, is the first London revival for more than 80 years - a must for all those interested in Irish drama, but also an absorbing piece of theatre in its own right. Despite a playing time of barely 80 minutes and a cast of only six, the performance establishes a strong epic style, thanks in part to the superb Celtic costumes, designed by the director, and her three evocative settings. Catherine Harvey plays Deirdre with touching directness. She has been hidden away by the ageing King Conchubor - portrayed with firm dignity by John O'Byrne... There are also effective performances by Helen Dickens, Barry Cooper and Brendan Fleming as court officials. "
John Thaxter, The Stage, 20th May 1999

"An atmospheric rendering of the death-obsessed final work by J M Synge... At its best it rises to the heights of poetic lyricism that are reminiscent of Wordsworth's nature-worshipping poetry. The best performance is by Barry Cooper as the king's spy, Owen. Cooper gets right inside the character, conveying his darkly brooding nature and is eaten up inside by love. The staging is imaginative, with ropes standing in for trees and the woodland settings being conjured up by gusting winds and chirping birds. It has a mythical feel to it. "
David Smith, Irish Post, 22nd May 1999

catherine harvey as deirdre (in the dressing room)

helen dickens prepares for performance

Helen Dickens

Barry Cooper

John O'Byrne

Brendan Fleming

Catherine Harvey

Justin Brett

Sam Shammas

Adam Carree

Barry Cooper

Alison de Burgh

Linda James

Sam Shammas Productions

Sam Shammas

brendan fleming (as fergus) relaxes in the interval

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