Digging for Fire – Project Arts Centre – Review

Digging for Fire

Digging for Fire is a play by Declan Hughes that was previously performed by Rough Magic in 1991. It is a play about contemporary Ireland of the period that is just shrugging off the power of the church and facing into becoming part of Europe; learning to stand on its own two feet. So what has happened in the intervening 22 years, and how has Ireland changed? Where to start!

The premise behind the piece is one that has been used many times in movies such as the Big Chill and Peter’s Friends (among others). In this case 7 college friends meet up for a party after a number of years without seeing each other. They’ve grown apart in the intervening years, and there’s even a question over what is holding them together any more,  as their lives have gone in different directions. As the night progresses and with the power of alcohol to unlock doors, a number of truths are revealed which would have been better left unsaid.

The first half of the play is interesting for the depiction of Ireland in the 90’s and the issues that were relevant to the time. It’s a relief to not hear house prices or the recessions mentioned, and it’s a picture of Ireland that is largely positive. There are still moral dilemmas and queries over whether we are moving in the right direction, but there is no fear of the world ahead!

After the interval, the play moves up a gear with the characters bouncing off each other nicely, and revealing themselves as complex and well developed. Some of the characters with smaller parts are quite impressive, with Paul Mallon playing a gay solicitor (Rory) and Margaret McAuliffe playing an artist returning from New York (Emily) stealing a number of scenes. The final section of the play is tight and very well directed as many truths are revealed and the dynamic between the group of friends shifts irrevocably. This is a well acted and interesting view of ourselves in the 90’s and before all the madness of the Celtic Tiger had begun!

Real Deal – All tickets 23 April (tonight) just €15! There’s also €10 tickets if you’re under 30.


Writer – Declan Hughes
Director – Matt Torney
Set & Lighting Design – Ciaran Bagnall
Costume Design – Niamh Lunny
Assistant Director – Rosemary McKenna (SEEDS Programme)

Cast includes – John Cronin, Orla Fitzgerald, Will Irvine, Mags McAuliffe, Paul Mallon, Jody O’Neill and Raymond Scannell.

Any reason to include a Pixie song is a good reason… Released in August 1990, from the album Bossanova.

Digging for Fire

Categories: Theatre

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