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Shadow of a Gunman 

The first part of Sean O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy. Set in 1920, as the Irish War of Independence rages, "Shadow of a Gunman" is the story of two young men, Donald Davoren and Seamus Shields, who share a flat in Dublin.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Donal Davoren
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Seamus Shields
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Tommy Owen
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Minnie Powell
James Ellis ...
The Landlord
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Adolphus Grigson
Ruth McCabe ...
Mrs. Grigson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Carey ...
Mr. Gallagher
Owen O'Neill ...
Mr. Maguire
Britta Smith ...
Mrs. Henderson
...
Black and Tan
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Storyline

The first part of Sean O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy. Set in 1920, as the Irish War of Independence rages, "Shadow of a Gunman" is the story of two young men, Donald Davoren and Seamus Shields, who share a flat in Dublin.

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Drama

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7 October 1995 (UK)  »

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This episode takes place from May 10 to May 11, 1920. See more »

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O'Casey's parable of an Ireland unsure
21 August 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Notable for being one of the few occasions where Kenneth Branagh acted using his own Irish accent, this adaptation of Sean O'Casey's powerful short play was one of the highlights of the BBC's Performance strand a decade ago. Branagh is poet Donal Davoren, taking lodgings so he can write verse and dream of Shelley, but arousing suspicion of those around him who think he is an IRA man on the run.

Stephen Rea is Seamus Shields, a useless, lazy, salesman of hairpins and spoons, who struggles to be both a good Irishman and indifferent to all around him. The cast is rounded out by Paul Ronan as Tommy Owen, a fanatical Republican who wants to die for his country; Bronagh Gallagher as Minnie Powell, a flighty girl who dreams of gunmen and heroes; and John Kavanagh and Ruth McCabe as the fiercely Protestant Grigsons, who live by the Bible and bless 'Good King William and the Battle of the Boyne.' O'Casey's Ireland is fraught with danger - the Black and Tans constantly ambush and terrorise, on the look-out for guns and bombs; the Irish people rely on the Republican Army for their brand of justice; and there is a general air of hopelessness, of tragedy, and of disaster waiting to happen.

A clever play, with sparking dialogue well-delivered, and an intimate staging as the piece demands, this still stands up as a powerful piece of theatre captured for the television. All the performances are excellent, especially Branagh and Rea, and Nye Heron's direction is assured. Highly recommended.


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