UNA CRAWFORD & BRYAN MURRAY
'Going to a new play is always interesting. There are no preceived ideas and nothing to compare it to.
"Matriarchs" is a play about two very powerful women, Elizabeth 1st of England and Grace O'Malley the Pirate Queen. From the moment the play opened you were drawn into the battle of wits between these two women, Graces son, Tibbott Burke and Robert, the Earl of Essex. It is about love, marriage, power and the challenges posed by female ageing
Ann Chambers dialog ue was powerful and surefooted, discriptive and dramatic and well served by all three actors.
Regina McCormack as Grace O'Malley brought a great earthiness to the role of the Pirate Queen and Bronach Joyce as Elizabeth 1st was regal, haughty and commanding. Conor Clarke played both Tibbott and Essex with great contrast and confidence.
Lighting and direction were spot on and the scene changes were seamless.
This is a play that leaves you wanting to know more about Grace O'Malley and deserves to be seen by a wider audience.'
'Just imagine I had to travel to the West Coast of Ireland to learn from a wonderful new play by Irish author Anne Chambers about a piece of Anglo-Irish history that has evaded me all these years, despite all the films and books on The Tudors and all the Documentaries made by the eminent Professor Dr David Starkey.
I will not tell you what I learnt and do a "spoiler" about this first play, so well written produced and directed by the author, but I will say that the staging and acting was of the highest standard and the story quite riveting. A sell out production each night with queues of people waiting and hoping in vain for ticket returns and in the end unfortunate to miss an excellent night's entertainment'.
"We attended Matriarchs and loved it. So fabulous a performance...it got a standing ovation. Terrific performance by the aptly named Regina McCormack as Grace O. Elizabeth Regina was played by Bronagh Joyce whom I took to be
English so good was the accent. Earl of Essex was played by a school boy who was remarkably good for his age.
The whole notion of Grace O'Malley seemed mythical and yet she did exist. How she managed to have a mind of her own and leadership qualities at a time when the Church patriarchs (as well as husbands/fathers) did your thinking for you - is puzzling. Great scriptwriting by Anne C. She's certainly a marvel.''