Tag Archives: Gemma Kerr

To Have to Shoot Irishmen – 4 Stars


To Have to Shoot Irishmen

Omnibus Theatre

Reviewed – 4th October 2018


“The actors take Lizzie Nunnery’s colourful, vivid script and bring such heart to a very affecting piece”


1916 is a violent and fraught time in Irish and British history. A time of conflict, at home and overseas. To Have To Shoot Irishmen is a story focusing on the war at home. It follows four people of the time, all different allegiances, all holding different stances. The story contains a brilliantly woven dual narrative following the continuation of the present whilst also retelling the story of how we got there. We follow the stories of Frank (Gerard Kearns), Hanna (Elinor Lawless), William (Robbie O’Neill) and Vane (Russell Richardson) as we dissect the idea of brutality in volatile times.

The use of folk songs throughout really enhances this production. The level of musicianship on stage by all cast members is a joy to see, while the vocals are also clear and strong. The use of music (Vidar Norheim and Lizzie Nunnery) is a beautiful storytelling device that breaks up the scenes well and adds a new dynamic and authenticity to the show. The clever set (Rachael Rooney) and atmospheric lighting (Richard Owen) add realism and enhance the raw emotion of the piece.

The performances on stage are all thought out, versatile and grounded. The actors take Lizzie Nunnery’s colourful, vivid script and bring such heart to a very affecting piece. The stand out performance comes from Kearns as Frank. He brings a dynamic, layered, fully realised character to the stage. One that we laugh with, listen to and shed a tear for. His delivery is impeccable.

What really strikes a chord with me and my fellow audience members is the humanisation of these events. Despite this being a piece of history that is over one hundred years old, the themes and people are still relatable. The idea of responsibility to humanity and/or country. The question of what is ‘the truth’ and what is truthful.

Part of a mini-season of Irish work, To Have To Shoot Irishmen is a tight, heart wrenching and very real story. It is one that will open the eyes of many and fill those eyes with tears. There is sadness within the dialogue but also humour and light. For “We are the dream, we are our own dark reflection”.


Reviewed by Shaun Dicks

Photography by Mike Massaro


Omnibus Theatre

To Have to Shoot Irishmen

Omnibus Theatre until 20th October


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Badback Mountain | | January 2018
Drag Me to Love | ★★★ | February 2018
The Soul of Wittgenstein | ★★★ | February 2018
Mortgage | ★★★★ | March 2018
My Dad the Magician | ★★★★ | March 2018
The North! The North! | ★★★ | March 2018
Gauhar Jaan – The Datia Incident | ★★★★ | April 2018
The Yellow Wallpaper | ★★★★ | June 2018
Blood Wedding | ★★★ | September 2018


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The End of History – 3.5 Stars


The End of History

St Giles-in-the-Fields Church

Reviewed – 8th June 2018


“predominantly the writing is beautiful, lyrical and deeply human”


Paul smashes things, the city, the weekend, avocados. He works in marketing for a property development firm. London is a choice Paul made – he chose to move here and so he believes he has a greater claim to it than those who were simply born here. There are strangers in him though, Matt, Mark and Mike, the names he alternates between for Grindr hookups, and on certain mornings coffee menus look like hieroglyphics. Wendy has lived in London all her life. She is an art therapist working with alcoholics and homeless people. She carries a suitcase and a Sports Direct bag filled with possessions belonging to her ex-boyfriend. She might be going to Seville, maybe. They meet in St Giles Church, where the site-specific production is also performed. She is here for peace and quiet, he won’t stop checking his phone. She recognises him from when he knocked her bag over on the tube escalator this morning. He seems barely conscious of her existence.

As we learn about the two very different lives that have lead this pair to the same place, a narrative of disconnection becomes, at last, a story about connections made between people in the most unexpected of places. Two personal stories are contextualised by vital discussions about gentrification, homelessness and class. The characters are well-crafted, clearly defined, and delivered by equally strong performances from Sarah Malin as Wendy and Chris Polick as Paul. Polick’s performance is layered and moving, whilst Malin brings a playfulness to the script. This is a well balanced duo.

The majority of the piece is delivered in an unusual third person, with each actor doubling as the characters in the other’s life – distinctly different characters but never overdone. These moments of doubling, coupled with the moments of direct interaction, are some of the strongest of the show, and a little more focus on developing or extending these points could create a more balanced whole. The third person style takes a little longer to really engage with making for a slow start, and at points, the writing tries to do too much, it spills over with words. The epithet, “show, don’t tell” is applicable here. But predominantly the writing (by Marcelo Dos Santos) is beautiful, lyrical and deeply human, and the third person style seems to work more and more effectively as the production progresses. The gradual release of information, the witty grasp of language and the deeply moving trajectory are a credit to the quality of both the production’s writing and execution. Director Gemma Kerr has the actors utilising the whole space, delivering lines from different pews, from the pulpit even, which works really well.

The moments of music, composed by Edward Lewis are Sondheim-esque, talk/sung at points. The music is undoubtedly beautiful but these are not my favourite moments of the play – in fact the points where the actors speak over music chime more with me – but they do work and seem particularly appropriate in the church setting. Unfortunately Malin’s vocal capability is not quite up to some of the higher melodies, and these moments do take us out of the world of the play.

Some development is required for this piece to reach its full potential, but ‘The End of History’ is still a moving and powerful story, tender and personal, thought provoking in its social context.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Mike Massaro


The End of History

St Giles-in-the-Fields Church until 23rd June



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