Sive – Abbey Theatre – Review


Sive is the story of a young girl growing up in rural Ireland in the 1950’s. Both of Sive’s parents died while she was still a child and she has been brought up by her Uncle and his wife, along with her loving grandmother. She is a smart girl who works hard at her studies, and seems to excel in what she is doing. When the matchmaker Thomasheen Seán Rua turns up at their door with a proposal of marriage for Sive from an elderly gentleman in the area, his request is immediately dismissed. Thomasheen then explains that the offer includes a considerable sum of money for Sive’s hand, the matter becomes more complex.

Sive was written John B Keane in 1959 and is one of his most famous plays. It focuses on the poverty of life in rural Ireland during this period. This is an age before electricity had reached some parts of the country, and they still use gas lamps and a fire to cook their meals. The hardship of their lives is clear for all to see, and the temptation of the money becomes the central theme of the piece.

The play is set in the kitchen of the cottage in which Sive and her family live. Sabine Dargent’s set captures this cold and dour world with ease. The fire is central to the room, and door and windows behind offer a glimpse of the world outside.

This is a fine production of the play that captures all the humour and horror of the story. Those averse to the stage Irish may not be happy with the portrayal of the tinker Pat Bococh, who is little more than a tall leprechaun,  complete with shillelagh but this is mainly played for laughs. The full cast impress and the two villians of the story, in the money grabbing wife Mena (Derbhle Crotty) and the match maker Thomasheen Seán Rua (Simon O’Gorman) are played with great style . This is a loud and boisterous production that gives many laughs and never draws back from the harsh reality of the times.

Sive runs at the Abbey Theatre until Saturday, 12th of April. Tickets are from €13-45.


Ian Lloyd Anderson – Liam Scuab

Barry Barnes – Mike Glavin

Derbhle Crotty – Mena Glavin

Muiris Crowley – Carthalawn

Bríd Ní Neachtain – Nanna Glavin

Simon O’Gorman – Thomasheen Seán Rua

Róisín O’Neill – Sive

Frank O’Sullivan – Pats Bocock

Daniel Reardon – Seán Dóta

Creative Team

Conall Morrison – Director

Sabine Dargent – Set Design

Joan O’Clery – Costume Design

John Comiskey – Lighting Design

Conor Linehan – Composer and Sound Design

Categories: Theatre, Theatre Review

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