A one-act show with Irish actor Shay Duffin as the rowdy, bawdy, alcoholic pub-crawling Irish poet and playwright Brendan Behan (1923-1964), who died too young to have left an extensive literary legacy. Selections from Behan’s writings and songs were offered by a husky actor who barely resembled the late writer, but whose affection for him came through in the effective choices and arrangements of the presentation. As Mel Gussow observed, “Shay Duffin . . . does not look like Behan—as, for example, Niall Toibin did', exactly, in the stage adaptation of Borstal Boy.” Duffin’s performance was “adequate,” wrote Edith Oliver, even “amiable,” to quote Gussow, but nothing special.
Duffin played the piece as though Behan were regaling the audience from a seat in a favorite pub, and he drank healthy draughts of stout throughout the evening. On opening night, at least, stout was also served to audience members. He moved into his own person occasionally, but would quickly resume the Behan impersonation. Said Gussow, “This stage Behan reveals himself as an earthy, roguish sort who cannot resist a bad joke, and who often makes up a good one. More than occasionally, he sings a lyric, such as 'There's no place on earth like the world.' Duffin's voice is good, and so is the accordion accompaniment of Barney McNelis.”
This was only one of several similar one-man shows in which actors portrayed the Irish writer, most recently 2013’s Brendan at the Chelsea.