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Stephen Rea is hailed for star turn in new play

By David Young

Published 19/02/2016

Actor Stephen Rea
Actor Stephen Rea

Ulster actor Stephen Rea is receiving rave reviews from the Dublin theatre critics for his performance as a psychotic loyalist in Cyprus Avenue, a new comedy play by Carrickfergus-born writer David Ireland.

Award-winning Rea stars as Eric Miller, a Belfast loyalist who believes his five-week-old granddaughter is Gerry Adams.

His family keep telling him to stop living in the past and fighting old battles which nobody cares about any longer - but Miller believes that his cultural heritage is under siege. Helen Meany, writing for The Guardian, described Cyprus Avenue as "a complex display of sectarian paranoia".

In The Irish Times, Peter Crawley labelled the play as "caustically funny".

Crawley described Rea's performance in the role of the psychotic loyalist, whose identity crisis stood for "the predicament of loyalism, a culture defined through rigid opposition" as "masterful".

In the Irish Independent, Katy Hayes hailed Cyprus Avenue as a "brilliant and provocative" production.

"All the performances are good, but Rea's superb talent, here witnessed up close in the round, is a treat not to be missed," she said.

"If the work is to be taken at face value as a thesis, it suggests that loyalism is a bogus identity, invented to further British imperialism, and has its ultimate expression in psychosis."

Directed by Vicky Featherstone, the play will transfer to London in April.

Belfast Telegraph

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