The Passion of the Playboy Riots

Theatre (historical, political)

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  • PQA Venues @Riddle's Court - Q2
  • 20:30
  • Aug 26
  • 50 minutes
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - Northern Ireland
  • Group: The Playboy Rioters
  • Warnings and additional info: Audience Participation, Contains Distressing Themes
  • Accessibility:
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years

This show has performances in multiple locations


True story of the role played by theatre in the birth of modern Ireland, set backstage during performances of groundbreaking Irish plays, Cathleen ni Hoolihan (1902), The Playboy of the Western World (1907) and The Plough and the Stars (1926). Based on the writings of WB Yeats and Lady Gregory, who founded the Irish Literary Theatre, and Patrick Pearse, first of the leaders of the Easter Rising to face the firing squad. 'Funny, taut and thought-provoking' (Roy Foster, author of Yeats: A Life). 'Original, witty and controversial' (Ruth Dudley Edwards).

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General venue access

  • Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
  • Accessible entry: Reception - Lift - Theatre
  • Wheelchair access type: Building Lift

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Andrew Milner 106 days ago

I enjoyed it and also having the chance to talk to the actors and writer for a few minutes after the show. Although I knew of the riots the play provided additional insights which I had not known.

Paul Donnelly 109 days ago

Absolutely loved the show and venue. Well produced with an excellent cast. The production was as witty as it was informative and contained many uncomfortable truths that can also be relatable to today’s politics. Highly recommend that you take this show in should you get the chance. Big thank you to the cast for an excellent performance.

Rich Blaikie 109 days ago

It would be easy to assume a play set during Ireland's troubled fight for independence, about the Irish Literary Theatre and the roles of art verses direct action as agents of social change, would be wordy and worthy. To do so, however, would do a great disservice not only to this play but also your fringe calendar if you were to omit it. Instead we have tightly-scripted well-acted play that is informative and thought-provoking without preaching. The script is peppered with wry wit and the occasional homage. Whilst no means a comedy, be in no doubt there is playful fun in this production, particularly in the audience participation.
There are some obvious parallels to more current events surrounding taking control and protectionist trade policy for example, but these are wisely left for another forum to examine.
There is genuine warmth between Yeats and Lady Gregory on stage that makes their long friendship believable, but it is the evolution of Pearse and the clash of ideals that is the heart of this play. To develop a character and later return as an actor playing said character, all within an hour is testimony to the actor, script and director and all should be applauded.
As someone who approached the play with scant knowledge of the historical setting I can attest this is no bar to enjoyment. There is undoubtedly a lot more background information that could have been added, but I suspect this would have added wordy flab. Similarly it would be all too easy to pad out the script with a lengthy soliloquy from Pearse, or eulogy for him, however then that would not be this play, but another. Perhaps the greatest feat of this play is the writer’s restraint, or judicious editing, that pares everything back to just enough background to enjoy the remainder and package it all into an unhurried hour.
The venue is a delightful oasis of calm and the room, whilst charming, one of the smallest performance spaces I have encountered (hint book early). Yet this lends itself well to such an intimate play – we are eavesdropping backstage after all – and also allowed the audience to enjoy a scene-setting tot of whiskey (we are in Ireland) which I doubt would be possible in a large venue.
In short this is a finely acted play, thought-provoking with crisp writing; certainly not wordy, but most definitely worthy of your time.

Liam Search 114 days ago

The perfect fringe show. Seen it twice. I still don’t get all the history references but it’s just so funny, so much fun. It’s over too quickly. Hopefully we’ll get to see it again.

Reported/Removed 118 days ago

This review was reported and removed after review by a Moderator.

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The Spectator 107 days ago

This is a small gem of a play which deserves to be expanded and taken on by a producing theatre.

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