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March 18, 2022


#ReadingIrelandMonth22 Sebastian Barry

by N@ncy



On Blueberry Hill by Sebastian Barry by Sebastian Barry Sebastian Barry

Finish date:  16 March 2022
Genre: Play
Rating: A+++++++
Review: On Blueberry Hill (ISBN: 978-0571342921)


Good news: Type of play:  two-hander…with only two main characters.  This is such an easy read compared to a large cast of characters (Shakespeare…for instance!) PJ and Christy are a display of opposites. “…Now we’ve lived together in contentment, more or less, for nigh on twenty year. Like turtle doves. – In prison, I mean, for f**k’s sake, the chances of that.”

Good news: Conflict: There is a clear use of conflict that the audience/reader feels between offstage and on-stage. PJ and Christy reflect on what life is like on the outside of prison (hope, torment). The play evokes a feeling of emotion because…we are all imprisoned in some way in our lives.

Good news: Title: What has Sebastian Barry hidden in the title of the play…On Blueberry Hill. It immediately reminds on of the best selling 1956 song by Fats Domino! This is what I like about plays…the riddles/surprises that you can discover. No spoilers….if you want to know the answer…read the play!

Good news: Humor: Leave it to the Irish to give us a good laugh at the beginning! The first section “PJ” starts with a quote in Gaelic from bible out of chapter Eoin 1 = John 1: “In the beginning was the word… ( Ann so tosach do bhí an briathar…”) What is the link between the bible and the play? Well, I had to laugh…it was a set-up for showing how much fun it was to use the Gaelic word FOCAIL (= word) instead of BRIATHAR ( = word). The former was more FUN…to say! Yes, it sounds like….F**K

Good news: Tension: The two cellmates….address only the audience and never each other! Oh, this is very clever…and comical. The two characters in question often display differences because they are the…BEST of friends and the WORST of enemies.

Personal Goosebumps…when I fished the play. Oh, if you can find this story by Sebastian Barry in the library or better yet buy the Kindle version…please take the time to read this unforgettable play! Mr Barry is one of the best writers in Ireland…and he does not disappoint!
Fats Domino: “I found my freedom, on Blueberry Hill, on Blueberry Hill ….when I found you!”

Cover…Love it!

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 18 2022

    That play sounds good and it made me wonder if there’s a play database, similar to IMDB for movies, that tells you when a play is coming to a theater near you.

    I Googled around using this play as a guinea pig. It seems to be new-ish and the only place it’s played so far here in the USA is New York. Let’s say that’s the case, I wonder how I find out when, if ever, it’s coming to Los Angeles.

    Don’t worry, I know you don’t have the answers to my questions. I’m just thinking out loud. LOL

    Do you live somewhere where you can see plays and do you go to see them regularly?

    When I was still in L.A. I saw quite a few.


    • Mar 18 2022

      You are so lucky… to see plays in LA when you are there! I never get to see a real play in English here in Netherlands. I search for productions that could be live-streamed from theaters in England…but not much luck.

      I have a link on my blog here it is:

      and I hope the things I name can help you find more plays. Often on the Yale Drama School link (theater) new talent is given a chance to produce a play.
      Also the Geffen Theater in LA….is always the center of great drama! On my “PLAY” page I also have the list of the 50 greatest plays in the last 100 years. I’m trying to read as many as possible. Also the page NEW YORK THEATER has a lot of useful information about current plays! Reading a play is just what you could use during the small windows of “reading opportunity” between work, grocery runs and household chores…and of course Marilyn loves to sit on your lap when reading a good play!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mar 19 2022

    So glad to see this post. I first came to know Barry’s writing through his theatre work and I don’t feel he gets enough credit for his consistently brilliant plays.


    • Mar 19 2022

      I agree…wonderful, moving writer (novels) …but his plays are so poignant and funny!
      It’s not easy ( …I expect) to write GOOD dialogue but SBarry and Marina Carr are some of the best!

      Liked by 1 person


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