The Death of Harry Leon
There was something particularly special about last night’s performance of The Death of Harry Leon to a dozen or so die-hard luvvies who braved the dire weather forecasts to witness something new in Irish theatre. Against an expertly understated stage design by Liam Doona, a strong cast played out the story of Harry Leon, a Dublin poet for whom a self-identification as Irish comes easier than absorbing his Jewish heritage. Conall Quinn rewrites Irish history in this beautifully nuanced work, with Portobello becoming a Jewish ghetto as the Blueshirts take over and friendly neutrality is abandoned for fascism. This is gripping, well-executed theatre that explores themes of belonging, memory and heritage without heavy-handedness, in a way that feels timely and relevant. We walked out into a snowy landscape and trudged home through the slush with whirring heads and a sense of excitement about the arts in Ireland where small venues with small audiences can still produce big, important work. For Peter Crawley’s review of the same play, click here. If you haven’t been, go see it. If you have, well, what did you think?