High praise from critics and audiences alike for revival of Billy Roche's A Handful Of Stars
  Four Rivers decision to join forces with Wexford Arts Centre in staging the first professional revival of the Billy Roche play 'A Handful Of Stars' has , without meaning to gloat, being a runaway success. It was brought to Wexford first and then to the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire. The play, the first in Roche’s Wexford Trilogy, explores how thwarted ambitions can both destroy dreams and shape character in small town Ireland. For those who had seen it when it was first staged fifty years ago, this was more than an opportunity to wander down memory lane. It was being walked (frog-marched!) through the mean back streets of the town, past the hard chaws and the chancers and the workers heading home from the drudgery of the factory; it was seeing up close the deadening frustration of ambition thwarted in a small inwards looking seaside town and the ruinous consequences that follow. Wexford’s Gary Lydon and Dermot Murphy were part of the super-talented line-up, Gary playing the role of Swan and Dermot the part of the troubled hero Jimmy Brady. When the play was first performed, the role of Jimmy went to Gary. Dermot also worked with Billy before, having made his stage debut as a young fella in Amphibians in 1998. Eilish McLaughlin, in the role of Jimmy's girl friend Linda, had the audience on her side from the start. The energy, dynamism and humour herself and Dermot brought to the stage was the glue holding the thing together. And, of course, it was too good to last. In his review of the play Jackie Hayden said 'Roche’s characters are people we feel we know almost as well as he does ... But underneath the normality rumble universal issues of greed, alienation, envy, struggle, disappointment, love found and misplaced, carried along on a tide of macho swaggering and swearing as the lads vie for supremacy in the snooker room and about town.' Zoning in on the tragic figure at the centre of the play he says 'Central to it all is Jimmy, played to full intensity by Dermot Murphy as he loses control of his life and his rage at that loss and everything else, including latest girl-friend Linda who refuses to be casually used by him.' The Irish Independent likewise zoned in on Murphy saying he gave 'an outstanding performance as Jimmy: intense, flustered, a powder-keg on the verge.'
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Four Rivers is a theatre company for the South East of Ireland. It has been established to bring new and classic plays to audiences in the region and to give voice to the creative communities of Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny and Carlow. The company is led by Wexford native, Ben Barnes who is a former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre.

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Four Rivers is a theatre company for the South East of Ireland. It has been established to bring new and classic plays to audiences in the region and to give voice to the creative communities of Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny and Carlow.

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