Yew Tree Theatre, Alone It Stands

Review in Issue 16-1 | Spring 2004

How can rugby be made interesting on the stage, albeit the astonishing victory of Munster’s amateurs against the infamous All Blacks?

Writer/director John Breen accepted the challenge and produced a legend of Irish theatre (to date, it has been seen by over 100,000, travelling as far Tasmania). A cast of six vivaciously undertake multiple roles, the set a mat (the field of play) and two benches either side (where those out of play wait), the only relief an image of Limerick’s sky line. Other requirements – from cars to hospital operating tables – are played by the cast, and although these images are crude, this is used to comic effect.

In the first half, wearing the All Blacks’ togs, they open the show with a comic rendition of the Haka. After the interval, corresponding to that of the match, they return in Munster’s colours as their 12-nil victory approaches. The pacing of the piece is impressive, only flagging when the difficulties of portraying tragedy in the context of comedy are encountered: for the match is counterpointed by several parallel narratives, adding the human element. The death of the captain’s father is the only one to jar. Others, such as the birth of a fan’s baby, add to the hilarity: cries of ‘Jesus, Munster! Get it outta there!’ (referring to the ball) intercut with ‘It’s coming, Mary, I can see the head!’

A rich piece of oral and physical storytelling – pure entertainment.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-1
p. 28