Saturday, February 13, 2021

470. THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975.

Bruce French, John Heffernan.
THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN [Dramatic Revival] A: Sean O’Casey; D: Philip Minor; S: Lloyd Burlingame; L: Fred Allison; P: Norman Kean and John Heffernan; T: Sheridan Square Playhouse (OB); 2/29/72-4/30/72 (72)

This revival of O’Casey’s 1923 tragicomic satire on the response of a diverse group of Dublin tenement dwellers to the Irish-British political strife of 1920 was received with attitudes ranging from warm to chilly. Responses ranged from positive to reserved, a major problem being the lack of a strong ensemble and consistently effective brogues.

Clive Barnes and Harold Clurman were supportive, the former calling the show “a handsome revival” and its acting “very sound,” with “the authentic Irish lilt.” Clurman rated it “the best acted” of the three versions he had seen. Douglas Watt termed the revival “creditable,” while Edith Oliver was bothered by the shaky dialects; still the play came “through unimpeded.” John Simon and Arthur Sainer, however, ranked it as “a poor production.”

Star and co-producer John Heffernan, playing Seamus Shields, was liked by several, but turned down by the majority, while Bernard Frawley, a native-born Irishman, gained kudos for his Mr. Gallagher. Others on hand included Leon Russum as Donal Davoren, Joseph Daly as Mr. Maguire, James Carruthers as Mr. Mulligan, Bruce French as Tommy Owen, Jacqueline Coslow as Minnie Powell, Paddy Croft as Mrs. Henderson, Estelle Owens as Mrs. Grigson, and James Gallery as Adolphus Grigson.