Ethan McSweeny
Mesmerizing … It's rare you leave a theatre unsure whether to laugh or cry - or both. But Brian Friel's adaptation of A Month in the Country conjures up so many opposing emotions that it's almost impossible to sum up exactly which is the most prominent and overriding … From raucous laughter to tears, comedy to tragedy, passion to toxic jealousy and deception, the entertaining play also somehow manages to be an in-depth study of the complexity of relationships and the roller coaster ride of emotion that is love … - Alana Fearon, Daily Mirror
★★★★ A memorable production … in this Brian Friel version of Turgenev's 19th-century play there's plenty of emotional turbulence and beefed-up comedy… And the emotion isn’t always beneath the surface. … The most powerful dramatic moments of the evening were provided by Nick Dunning as Natalya's husband in the scene in which his eyes are opened to the emotionally dead world he has provided for his wife. … Aislín McGuckin produces all the beautiful Natalya's irritating, vacillating, self-serving traits. If ever a man should be driven to tell someone, 'Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,' it would be the put- upon Rakitin. As played by Simon Gorman, he seems almost relieved to be finally going.- Michael Moffatt, The Irish Mail on Sunday
Turgenev's play preceded Chekhov's great works by half a century, but in Friel's hands the two become contemporaries … The play is, in a sense, daringly superficial, its very superficiality a comment on the milieu we are watching. It hints at a terrifying void beneath the rigid social hierarchies and customs … Director Ethan McSweeny keeps Friel's sense of unbearable lightness … Francis O'Connor’s set, mixing trees with interior settings, hints at the breakdown of the system that has preserved the estate, ensuring its return to wilderness.- Alan O'Riordan, Irish Examiner
Love is a game with uncertain rules and ruinous consequences in Brian Friel's delicately amusing and elegiac version of Turgenev's play. Passions run high on the Islayev estate … they brood, multiply, and finally erupt. … Director Ethan McSweeny maintains a stately pace for a drama a romantic and linguistic entanglements, one that smuggles the radical energy of passion into a distinctly Irish wordplay. All around … love is a form of madness… It even sends both Natalya and Michel skittering into tormented, split-psyche monologues, unable to reconcile their public and private selves.- Peter Crawley, The Irish  Times
Perfect Gate material … Mark O'Regan does a brilliant job as the joker Doctor Schigelsky … Caiomhe O'Malley as young Vera goes on a wonderful journey from giggly kid to mature young woman after the smack of betrayal. She becomes the centre of the play. Francis O'Connor’s set is a triumph … Costumes by Peter O'Brien are supremely elegant.- Katy Hayes, The Irish Independent
Enchanting … While Turgenev's play is usually described as a comedy of manners, Friel has focused on passion as obsession. It is Natalya's (a striking Aislin McGuckin) love for the younger man that drives the play's emotion. An arresting cast is bolstered by beautiful costumes...set and Ethan McSweeny's calm direction.- Eithne Shortall, The Sunday Times


Adaptation by Brian Friel from Ivan Turgenev
Gate Theatre, Dublin 2015