by Timberlake Wertenbaker
at The Project, Dublin April 2003
and the Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast May 2003
Photographs by Chris Hill
Darwin is full of irony and humour with layers of meaning that can be
unravelled for hours afterwards.
It moves with great effect between the two plays, and Darwin and FitzRoy [Conleth Hill and Des McAleer],
give great performances. And best of all it has the very satisfying result of educating and entertaining at the same time "
- Anne Murphy, Irish Independent
performances in After Darwin are amongst the best you'll see anywhere this
Des McAleer and Conleth Hill are especially stunning in this subtle, stimulating, intricate
and provocative play. If you want to be amused intellectually and see great stage acting this is not to be missed "
- Patrick Brennan, Irish Examiner
production of After Darwin is the work of the Belfast based Prime Cut
For a little of over a decade now Prime Cut have been producing and touring challenging international drama.
After Darwin fits into this brief and their experience with this sort of work shows. They make use of straightforward lighting
and a simple but not minimalist set defined by furniture alone. The acting is strong overall, particularly from Conleth Hill as Tom/Darwin
The Show is both stimulating and entertaining "
" Norma Sheahan as Milllie strikes the perfect note of passion and
desperation between the young,
laconic Tom/Darwin [Conleth Hill], and the dry experience of Ian/FitzRoy [Des McAleer]. They form a wonderfully assured trio,
with Sean Francis as Lawrence providing an interesting fourth dimension. If the play-within was merely a gimmick,
everything would soon fall flat. But this is writing so intelligent and acting so almost ridiculously in tune,
that the transitions from present and past are effortless. The conversational tone helps, making us feel like we're
eavesdropping on a very absorbing series of conversations - that they take place in different centuries hardly matters.
The scripts lightening flashes from tragedy to acerbic humour and back again take the audience on an involving, emotional journey
through the last two hundred years of human thought Richly layered, rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable,
this is theatre that really makes you think. "
- Elizabeth McGuane, Sunday Business Post
a 21st century culture of selfishness and individualism, Darwin's theories
of natural selection hold more sway than ever.
Timberlake Wertenbaker's fascinating expedition into the life and work of Charles Darwin has
resulted in a complex play, which addresses the metaphor of survival of the fittest .
A sterling production and cast. Director Jackie Doyle's approach is as thoughtful as the play itself while Des McAleer
presents a measured and humane portrait of FitzRoy, contrasting with Conleth Hill's reckless and arrogant Darwin.
Norma Sheahan and Sean Francis as director and writer respectively make up the numbers with aplomb.
The drama is something of a sign for our times, forcing upon us an
evaluation of the human struggle in an increasing Darwinistic era."
- Rachel Andrews, Sunday Tribune
Outstanding performances from all the cast add an extra dimension of fizz
to Wertenbaker's stimulating script,
where every theme is demonstrated by her characters in defence or opposition to Darwin's theories. Like Tom
Stoppard's Arcadia, After Darwin leads its audience through difficult concepts, scarcely allowing us to catch our
breath before offering another idea for our consideration. After Darwin is everything good theatre should be -
thought provoking, quality entertainment performed to the highest standard." "
- Grania McFadden, Belfast Telegraph
Prime Cut, which under director Jackie Doyle has given us nothing but the
most thoughtful, provocative and truly theatrical
of productions over the years, are back with Timberlake Wertenbaker's After Darwin
Doyle's many geared production is perceptive and revealing ..So as always with Prime Cut,
don't miss a rare and intelligent delight fashioned for you with the delicate assistance of Tina McHugh's lighting and Bell
Helicopter's riveting soundscape "
- Ian Hill, The Newsletter
members: Des McAleer / Conleth Hill / Norma Sheahan / Sean Francis
Director Jackie Doyle / Set + Costume Stuart Marshall / Lighting Design Tina MacHugh / Sound Design Bell Helicopter