NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE
The best of what's on this week. "Murray is a perfect fit".
Eithne Shortall - Sunday Times
If ever there was an actor you wanted to see more of, it’s Mary Murray. On stage she has always had a magnetic focus, a presence somewhere between no-nonsense control and a shiver of vulnerability.
Murray’s assured presence... An actor of tremendous physical versatility and wit, she falls into comic contortions as a simpering pregnant woman, puffs up and out to play a Liverpool vamp, and demonstrates myriad ways to inhale, each as individual as a fingerprint.
Peter Crawley - The Irish Times
“What makes this close to a magical hour is Murray’s mastery of Dublin Argot, delivered by his characters with meaty and frequently hilarious gusto… And then of course there’s Mary Murray, sole performer on an empty stage. She couples the space with such consummate skill that her audience feel themselves being shoved and poked at the crowded bar, choking in the smoky haze, an uneasy witness to the frayed tempers that range from the irritating and pesky to the dangerously violent…and that’s just the women. That’s acting folks.
Emer O' Kelly- Sunday Independent
A one woman tour de force by the highly talented Mary Murray.
Michael Moffatt -Irish Mail On Sunday.
All of the characters are brought together by a skilled and vibrant lead performance. Mary captivates the audience with ease... The way in which she controls her body and changes seamlessly has all the markings of a fit, physical actor who takes her craft very seriously. As for the script written by Paddy Murray it's chock full of sharp Dublin wit and wordplay with a solid plot. Complimenting all this is a varied array of facial expressions that are hilarious to look at... and strongly delivered accents...Her performance is so engaging it almost draws the audience to participation...an overwhelmingly positive experience. Mary Murray is an accomplished theatre actor who clearly loves what she does. No Smoke Without Fire is a great play that'll leave you in stitches- A one woman showcase well worth the trip.
Cormac Fitzgerald: No More Workhorse.
Murray creates all of these distinctive and diverse characters with skill, transforming herself between each one, her stance in a couple of instances enough to give us an idea of the type of character that's emerged, building into them individual quirks and tics, in performances that are well paced, delivering many great one liners, some sharp and cutting. But it is not all about laughs either as the story unfolds about the cash and Larry, the camper van and a deceased husband, under the steady direction of Jimmy Smallhorne.
It is a wonderful hour of theatre that doesn't outstay its welcome, and shows flowing, comic writing, all brought to life by a performer on top of her game, making it look easy and natural. With nothing on stage but Murray, she rises to the challenge delightfully, showing great skill, timing and control resulting in a very enjoyable piece of theatre.
RED CURTAIN REVIEW
It's a masterful display, and an absorbing exercise in both physical theatre and storytelling...cutting through amusing one-liners with superb comic timing... her seamless transition from one character to the next is what makes this play special...you can practically smell the cigarette smoke, and she doesn't even use a prop. Yep, Mary Murray is the real deal.
Chris Wasser - Evening Herald
Highly entertaining...a tour de force of versatility...executed with great delivery and nuance.
Bairbre Ni Bhraonain: Dublin Gazette
...these pieces, along with the very recent No Smoke Without Fire by Paddy Murray and featuring his daughter, the remarkably talented Mary Murray in six roles, gave us theatre of a high, sometimes excellent, standard.
Emer O' Kelly - Irish Independent
-Theatre Review Of The Year 2013
... performances are simply off the charts. Maeve Fitzgerald as Majella, and Mary Murray as Mary, are simply astounding, with both taking on several additional roles. Throughout, Fitzgerald and Murray’s richness of tone and pitch, their shared articulation of a physical vocabulary comprised of subtle and detailed gestures, are simply mesmerizing. Director Aoife Spillane Hinks does a superb job, ...eliciting two gobsmackingly brilliant performances, and one of the most utterly convincing street fights ever to grace a stage...Fitzgerald and Murray’s pitch perfect performances will appeal to anyone who was ever seven years of age. For Fitzgerald is fabulous, Murray magnificent.
Chris O' Rourke -The Arts Review
...with the hugely talented Mary Murray as Mary Leary. Emer O' Kelly - The Sunday Independent.
The scene is set for a wild descent into mayhem, violence and delusion which ends explosively." -Emer O'Kelly,
The Sunday Independent"Agnes is a part written in theatre heaven for a strong actor and Mary Murray fits it to perfection in this production."
-Emer O'Kelly, The Sunday Independent"[Mary Murray]
...electrifying, and mesmerising and unforgettable – everything a performance should be...Mary Murray’s performance as the piteous waitress Agnes White is utterly convincing and simply bewitching." -Sheena Lambert. writing.ie
Both Ryan and Murray surmount this demanding challenge …no mean feat.
DANCING AT LUGHNASA
Rose is immediately identifiable as having an intellectual disability of some sort. Child-like and innocent, she speaks from the top of her head, putting her foot in it at times, often with hilarious consequences... Mary Murray who plays Rose remains impressively in character from start to finish, her graceless stomping around in the wellies and facial contortions conveying a world of meaning and emotion. It’s a very honest portrayal of the character of Rose, she draws empathy and love from the audience and gives us lots of laughs with some perfectly-timed lines Her child-like innocence and special closeness with Agnes played by Catherine Cusack, is beautifully summed up in her line ‘I love you, Aggie! love you more than chocolate biscuits!’.
Evelyn Cullen: evelbevel.wordpress.com
...fast-paced Irish humour, delivered superbly by the cast who truly look and act like a family in every way. Mary Murray, who plays Rose, is the notable stand-out star, with her fantastic one-liners, expert comedic timing, hilarious facial expressions and gestures, along with the ability to portray the innocence mixed with humorous stubbornness that reminds one of a child of lesser years.
Kathryn McGowan: www.belfastvibe.com
... a tremendous standard of acting and a clever rhythm to the production... Rose (Mary Murray) brings laughter with her direct point of view and the simplicity of her outlook...Altogether this is a superior production and most enjoyable.
Anne Hailes: Belfast Times
The casting is spot on, from the charming rogue Gerry Evans (played by Matt Tait), to stern sister Kate (played by Catherine McCormack), the characters are not only fully formed, but endearing in their own individual ways and standout performances undoubtedly go to Cara Kelly’s portrayal of fun loving Maggie and Mary Murray’s Rose.
...all portrayed their personalities and quirks with vigour and vibrancy. Mary Murray’s portrayal of Rose Mundy for me was a stand-out performance. She was believable and authentic in a role that couldn’t have been easy to do with such empathy for Rose’s mental and intellectual challenges.
Tina Calder: bammag.wordpress.com
Stand out performances come in the form of Mary Murray as the hapless Rose and Declan Conlan as the confused Jack. Both of them play with the text beautifully offering fresh and exciting takes on well loved characters and they breath life into every scene.
Katie MCCann - Meg.ie
The ensemble cast (Catherine McCormack, Catherine Cusack, Cara Kelly, Vanessa Emme, Mary Murray, Declan Conlon, Matt Tait, Charlie Bonner) work incredibly well together; with the sisters giving wholly believable performances as women who cherish yet tire of each other. Much of the humour arises from the characters of Maggie (Cara Kelly) and Rose (Mary Murray).
David Keane - The Reviews Hub
KISSING THE WITCH
...the display of talent that follows is simply breathtaking. Scrolling through characters with spellbinding ease, the prodigiously gifted Mary Murray proves magical throughout, her gaze, voice, and expressions steeped in compelling immediacy.
Chris O' Rourke - The Arts Review
Mary Murray is poignant as a nasty but nervous usurping queen...
Katy Hayes - Irish Independent
It is orchestrated by songs performed live by Mary Murray as an eternal mourning figure in a performance that shows her singing talents to be as remarkable as her acting.
Sunday Independent - Emer O' Kelly
...Mary Murray who sings and chants various songs throughout the piece and as reference is made in the play to Yeats “Cathleen Ni Houlihan” she is with her songs the personification of Ireland as a nation in all of its complexities.
No More Workhorse
...underscored by operatic strains from a musician (a steely-voiced Mary Murray, singing old ballads arranged by Susan McKeown).Exeunt Magazine - Chris McCormack
Mary Murray’s potent and haunting singing role was almost like a chorus, but she was also a silent double for each female character that was referenced.
Rachel Rafferty - The Reviews Hub.
NOAH AND THE TOWER FLOWER
(NEW YORK )
...it's electrifying theater.
The show has been sensitively directed by Jim Culleton, and much of its meld of power and charm lies in the performances of Mary Murray and Darren Healy. They were Natalie and Noah in Dublin, where the play won the Irish Times Award for best play in 2007, and also on tour in Europe, and there's not a false breath on stage. With a twisted smile and taut stillness, Murray makes you fairly ache for Natalie's vulnerability. Healy's wiry body is alive with tics, smiles, and laughs, only partially covering the neediness and tendency to violence that lie beneath. His spot-on impersonations of Robert De Niro, Noah's movie idol, add greatly to the humor that seasons the script.
Mary Murray is compelling and endearing
Gwen Orel- The Irish Examiner
Rarely are theatergoers lucky enough to see a play that is so well written and perfectly performed that they quickly forget they are watching a performance. The American premiere of Noah and the Tower Flower is one of those special treats that makes audience members believe they are eavesdropping on a real-life drama unfolding in front of them...Darren Healy and Mary Murray, both in the original cast, are exceptional actors. They are heart-wrenching to watch as they yearn for the intimacy that has always eluded them. At the same time, they make Noah and Natalie full-blooded, endearing people who, despite all obstacles, have kept their humor and love of life. Healy perfectly captures all of Noah’s feverish energy, along with his vulnerability. Murray is outstanding as she reveals all the dimensions of a scarred woman longing for a romantic relationship but terrified of getting hurt again. Under Jim Culleton’s sensitive direction, the play is deeply affecting but ultimately hopeful.
Iris Greenberger: Show Business Magazine, New York.
As Natalie, Mary Murray embodies a woman whose optimism is tempered with despair, while Darren Healy, playing Noah, teases out depth from an excitable young man who might otherwise turn exhausting. The two, directed byJim Culleton, are well matched and believable. They have chemistry, and it comes through in their characters.
New York Times
...it is definitely a romance, despite its harshness, particularly when performed by the two extraordinary actors who created the roles. Those performers, the galvanic Darren Healy and the funny and moving Mary Murray...Natalie and Noah are real-seeming and fully dimensioned. It would be easy indeed to imagine their lives beyond the few brief scenes and moments playwright McLoughlin has provided. That’s something you can’t say of a lot of otherwise admirable plays. The performances by Murray and Healy rank among the genuine achievements of this year’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival.
Joseph Hurley:The Irish Echo: New York
Mary Murray plays Natalie, the recovering heroin addict from the projects (hence “Tower Flower”), her wonderful voice part hacksaw, part file.
Helen Shaw: Time Out; New York
These are real people. Mary Murray is a spitfire. Her body language is that of a cornered animal, her speech vulgar and cocky. The portrayal of Natalie at odds with herself is consummate. Exuberant abandonment to Elton John and her fear of regression are sympathetic, but never soft. The character is a street fighter. A beautifully calibrated performance.
Alix Cohen: womanabouttown.com New York
It’s a remarkable playwriting debut from McLoughlin, and an apt showcase for talented actors Darren Healy and Mary Murray. Director Jim Culleton elicits emotional, honest performances from Darren Healy as Noah (who balances his quirky humor with his neediness) and Mary Murray as Natalie (who finds the fear beneath Natalie’s tough exterior). It’s a fine production of a compelling play.
THE PRIDE OF PARNELL STREET
Ms. Murray has a gift for sensually summoning the fractured present of people for whom the past seems far more vivid than anything since, in other words, she’s a pleasure to watch and listen to.
Ben Brantley (New York Times)
…the talented Murray turns this language into authentic arias.
Back Stage (Karl Levett)
…powerful central performances…Murray serves her role extremely well…infusing Janet with electrifying life…it's amazing how much music and poetry she can bring to a monologue about a bloody nose.
Theater Mania (Theatre Mania)
Murray’s work constantly lifts the drama
Time Out New York (Helen Shaw)
…this current production could not be in better hands. Mary Murray as Janet is as complex as they come…From start to finish, Murray has our attention, and the flowing poetry of Barry could not be delivered in a more fulfilling way than it is with her.
nytheatre.com review (Matt Roberson)
the luminescent Mary Murray…From the moment she takes the stage, Murray is charismatic and commanding…
Music OMH (Richard Pattison)
Riveting performances… Mary Murray proves to be a quick-change artist of the soul…Murray treats the material with a welcome understatement that only adds to its power. Lighting & Sound America (David Barbour)
Murray's performance is stellar.
Curtain Up (Paulanne Simmons)
Brilliant performances, with Ms. Murray, particularly, showing us a myriad of nuances…
The Epoch Times (Diana Birch)
Beautifully directed by Jim Culleton and performed by a pair of actors who feel for their characters down to their souls…Murray gives a performance of amazing grace. She's fidgety at first, then turns resolute before finally achieving a kind of beautiful serenity.Frank Rizzo -Variety
Culleton's two performers -- Mary Murray as Janet and Karl Shiels as Joe -- wield Barry's language beautifully and prove themselves to be master storytellers. Ms. Murray fills Janet with nervous energy and stiff humour that make this character simply riveting…What makes these performers most engaging, though, is their exploration of that fine line between retelling history and reliving it.
Christopher Grobe - New Haven Independent
Given that Barry writes in a honeyed prose spiked with a wormwood humour, and the monologues are performed with exquisite restraint by Mary Murray and Karl Sheils, there is hardly a dry eye in the house by the end.
Lyn Gardner- The Guardian
There's something about an Irish accent, warm and inviting, that works particularly well with a first-person narrative. So it is here that, as soon as actress Mary Murray's lilting tones start up, we settle back contentedly into our seats…So gripping is Murray's opening salvo…It's a remarkable turn from Murray,
Fiona Mountford -- Evening Standard
Under Jim Culleton's sure direction, the two actors give their all and bring us an opportunity to meet those whom most theatre goers never will. These may not be the most articulate of people, though they are possibly more so than they ought to be. Even so, they speak with a kind of rhythmic poetry of the streets painting verbal pictures; and the tale that they tell is never less than gripping
Philip Fisher - The British Theatre Guide
Murray is truly breathtaking as the wise and compassionate Janet. Unlike many stories of domestic violence, hers is not the usual tale of gradual decline, and her strength of character leads the direction of the play in an unexpected direction. Injecting Janet with a highly entertaining blend of humour, sympathy and insight, Murray ensures a play that could have had its awkward moments in less capable hands is absolutely captivating right until the final curtain.
Catherine Usher - The Stage
TINY PLAYS FOR IRELAND
Perhaps most pleasurable of all is the enjoyment of watching the ensemble play: play with accents, play with characterisations, play with wigs…there was such a predominant feeling of enjoyment in the execution and presentation of the project that it felt as though there was no separation between cast and audience.
Irish Theatre Magazine - Susan Conley
The 25 pieces are performed by a cast of 6 who inhabit the 50 characters with so much dedication and clarity that it is little wonder a man in the seat behind me murmured his disbelief that there weren't more of them, as they lined up for their curtain call.
“these are trained actors.” They really have to be. For Peter Daly, Don Wycherley, Steve Blount, Mary Murray and Kate Stanley Brennan – all superb – negotiating this many styles and voices so seamlessly requires great skill.
The Irish Times Peter Crawley
the cast – Peter Daly, Kate Stanley Brennan, Don Wycherley, Mary Murray and Steve Blount – are brilliantly versatile. Under Jim Culleton's direction, they provide the unifying thread that this pointillist approach to theatre might otherwise lack.
The Guardian Helen Meany
…the production is carried by a sterling ensemble and wonderful direction.
The Movie Blog
It’s what theatre should be about, and all too often is not, and the cast - Kate Stanley Brennan, Mary Murray, Don Wycherley, Peter Daly and Steve Blount - are superb under Culleton’s direction.
Sunday Independent Emer O’ Kelly
Mary Murray is, as usual a joy to watch; her solo phone call with a sexual pervert is a comic delight, underplayed and unforgettable.
The Irish Mail On Sunday - Michael Moffatt
Mary Murray’s performance as the frazzled but stoic wife is excellent, injecting the role with a great comic physicality that produced many of the play’s laughs.
Sarah Gilmartin -
The actors Mary Murray (Gerty) and Maeve FitzGerald (Martha) really shone in particular.
Maeve Fitzgerald and Mary Murray, meanwhile, multi-task heroically as a gaggle of vividly realised male and female characters (seventeen at least, I counted). Goodness knows how they remembered where the next cue was coming from
Terry Blain- Irish Theatre Magazine
Mary Murray and Meave Fitzgerald in particular play both male and female characters with versatility,
Clara Kumagai - Meg
The players inhabit an array of different characters as they seamlessly shed. It is difficult to single out any one in particular but, on the night, Mary Murray was outstanding. Like Bolger, she understands Dublin. For anyone who has seen her perform in Sebastian Barry’s The Pride of Parnell Street the honesty of her performance in Ulysses will come as no surprise. She moves from male to female characters without hesitation, avoiding the temptation to demonstrate virtuosity but instead concentrates on living the character.
Italish Magazine - Liam O' Broin - http://italish.eu/news
TINY PLAYS FOR IRELAND 2
Five actors – Steve Blount, Peter Daly, Sorcha Fox, Mary Murray and Don Wycherley – perform split-second character changes, accompanied by intricate sound and lighting design…The real triumph though is the quality of the performances, in a showcase of brilliantly versatile acting talent.
Helen Meany - The Guardian
Throughout, the cast demonstrates a sublime versatility...Peter Crawley – The Irish Times
Although the plays are the stars of the show, the superb ensemble can't be ignored. Gliding in and out of characters with ease, the five actors take the words of the Tiny Plays and bring them to life.
Brendan O’ Rourke – Entertainment.ie
The fantastic acting ensemble are Steve Blount, Peter Daly, Sorcha Fox, Mary Murray and Don Wycherley. They play age ranges from newborn to pensioners, swapping accents, roles, genders and dialogue with ease. They're also easy to watch - they know what they're doing and are eager to bring the audience with them, letting them in on the humour and frenetic pace.
CLOSE TO THE SUN
A tragic comedy, with some excellent accents (the fantastic – and Irish – Mary Murray doing an Australian imitating an Irish person is pure brilliance)
Sheena Lambert: Writing.ie
The stand-out performances come from Mary Murray, especially towards the play’s end, and Neil Fleming. Their characters are in mortal conflict with each other, one never making it off the stage.
Ciara Haley: University Times
Toni O’Rourke and Mary Murray as the Australian girls with more than a few secrets show great finesse...with Murray crafting some powerful moments during the wedding scene.
Chris O' Rourke: The Arts Review
Written by Philip Doherty and directed by Stephen Darcy, the pair deliver a stellar show with an ensemble cast that absolutely knocks it out of the park.
TWELVE DAYS IN MAY
"Incredibly moving. Mary Murray gives a fabulous performance portraying the fierce personality of Nora Connolly with empathy.
Arena RTE Radio
NOAH AND THE TOWER FLOWER
In Noah and Natalie, McLoughlin convincingly captures the desperation of obsession, addiction, loneliness and love, in a Dublin idiom laced with mordant humour. Darren Healy and Mary Murray make the intimacy of Fishamble’s production almost difficult to watch.Sunday Business Post -- Sara Keating
“It’s a little cracker…Mary Murray and Darren Healy are as funny, endearing and accomplished as could be hoped for”
“Mary Murray is stunning as Natalie;…Jim Culleton has clearly allowed the actors to nurse their characters into life...exhilarating, clever and disturbing.”
The Irish Independent
Mary Murray’s performance is a revelation. Her comic timing and pathos are perfectly pitched. She breathes vitality and life into the valiant Brigid.Belinda Kelly -- Irish Theatre MagazineMary Murray (an actor we don’t see enough of)Emer O’ Kelly - Sunday Independent
ON RAFTERY'S HILL
Every performance is in your face, and there is huge emotional complexity behind Mary Murray’s sacrificial Sorrell
THE GRAPES OF WRATH
The performances are impressive across the board. Nick Dunning and Mary Murray stand out, as the former preacher Casey and the pregnant Joad daughter, Rose Of Sharon.
Mary Murray's Kristen the maid swung from stolid to avenging fury, a kind of sexual Savonarola, denouncing the needs of the flesh which for her are merely a means to security rather than a joyous abandonment: Kristen is the polar centre against whom Julie and Jean have sinned, symbolically as well as actually, and Murray personifies it.This is sobering, powerful theatre, absolutely absorbing and a joy to reflect on.
Emer O’ Kelly --
This part was given full expression by Mary Murray, who is developing into one of the finer actors plying their trade on the Dublin stageJ
ames McMahon --RTE
ARRAH NA POGUE
“Mary Murray is a vision of wistful innocence as Arrah”
Emer O kelly - Sunday Independent
“Mary Murray makes a compelling Arrah”
Derek West - Irish Theatre Magazine
“Mary Murray makes a fetchingly seditious Arrah”
Peter Crawley- The Irish Times
“even in the middle of the mayhem, the tragic and political aspects don't get lost. That's also due to the performance of Mary Murray as Arrah”
The Mail On Sunday
Terrific Performances. Mary Murray carries the burden of all the women’s roles with aplomb.
Emer O’ Kelly --Sunday Independent
It is in Mary Murray’s brilliant multi-role playing performance that Operation Easter makes its most interesting point
Sarah Keating -- Sunday Business Post
Mary Murray is excellent
Fintan O’ Toole -- The Irish Times
Mary Murray shines
Karen Fricker -- The Guardian
An extremely sobering play given a splendid production with Mary Murray particularly devastating as the “cur” (a child suffering from cerebral palsy, in this case a metaphor for the Kosovo Albanians)
Emer O’ Kelly - The Sunday Independent
Mary Murray, as Brigit, is terrific, a selfish if bubbly individual prone to flying to extremes when confronted with other peoples problems. She has enough of her own and while we can’t help but warm to her we are never allowed forget that she is all about herself, not averse to using Hughie but wholly unwilling to take heed of him.
Peter Crawley -Irish Times 11 July 2010
“Mary Murray’s intense performance is powerful vocally”
“there is tremendous precision in her tight-limbed, gesturally incisive reading of Brigit. “
“Murray captures the many nuances of a character whose surface appearance is misleadingly obvious, and the actor achieves this with an arsenal of precise physical stances, moves, and gestures. The sense of containment and constraint - the wound-up, angry and terrified girl lashing city-bred venom against everyone around her - comes with a marvellously realised sense of pain and vulnerability, which Murray conveys again with vocal nuance: switching tone and tempo with ease, but also through visible body actions that radio would not permit.”
Dr. Harvey O’ Brien - Irish Theatre Magazine
In particular, the performances of Ms. Murray and Mr. Blount are excellent – especially when it comes to their contrasting styles of pronunciation. Additionally, with this character, Ms. Murray is also building admirably here on her much lauded depiction of Janet in Sebastian Barry’s The Pride of Parnell Street.
Longman Oz- No Ordinary Fool - Online Review
Mary Murray gives a touching nuanced turn as Brigid (torn between self-preservation on one hand and altruism on the other)
Daragh Redin Metro
The denouement is obvious, but effectively tragic and sobering thanks to marvellous performances from Mary Murray as Brigit and Steve Blount as Hughie.
Emer O Kelly - Sunday Independent