‘Heather’ by Thomas Eccleshare Bewley's Cafe Theatre, 2019 'This is a wonderfully clever piece of writing from English writer Thomas Eccleshare, a hot-button play about the contemporary world, delivered in a slick and enticing package. It is innovative in form but delivers all the satisfaction of a conventionally plotted page-turner. Liam Halligan has a firm grip on the complexities and paces the show perfectly. Aenne Barr and Dermot Magennis deliver superb performances. Kieran McBride’s set has that wonderful theatrical visual thrill while Denis Clohessy’s sound design, highly effective throughout, reaches a flourishing climax.’ Katy Hayes, The Independent 9/2/2019
‘Eccleshare’s play is the dramatic equivalent of a Rubix cube. Expertly directed by Liam Halligan, this playful two-hander begins with an email thread between a book publisher, the excellent Dermot Magennis, and a first-time author, played with hesitant fragility by Aenne Barr. With a luscious soundscape by Denis Clohessy this intellectually ticklish play entertainingly explores our readiness to believe whatever story suits us.’ Fiona Charleton, The Sunday Times 10/2/2019
‘Eccleshare’s wider point is about the right to be someone else, whether through acts of imagination or rehabilitation. Liam Halligan, who directs this staging, seizes it by allowing his performers to slip unfussily and lucidly between rolls. Eccleshare is certainly keen to provoke thought: can the creations of a villain be themselves wholly innocent? Concluding with an excerpt from the book’s film adaptation, laced with the technical language of a shooting script (“Ext The Cave of Shadows”) but engagingly performed as a breathless Hollywood denouement against a tremendously dynamic composition by Denis Clohessy, the play attempts another kind of doubling. The assured production suggests a glib reading, blurring roles, stressing redemption and a duality finally reconciled. But it allows a more thorny interpretation too: that under the author’s spell, here in this cave of shadows, we see what Heather wants us to see. In the end, perhaps, we all choose our own story.’ Peter Crawley, The Irish Times 11/02/2019
**** 4 Stars ‘Shifting identities challenge an audience’s assumptions. The drama spins upon a gripping premise and the timely relevance only heightens the suspense. The different writing styles demanded by each section allows Eccleshare to showcase his craft, while the added role-play demanded by the shifting structures brings an extra frisson to the play’s themes: can art redeem the darkest of deeds? Denis Clohessy’s original composition adds tremendously to the success of the final scene. Designer Kieran McBride creates a clever backdrop with limited resources. ‘Heather’ offers a welcome reflection on contemporary cultural events, as well as a clever meditation on ethics and art.’ Sarah Keating. Sunday Business Post, 17/02/2019
'Take Off Your Cornflakes' by Rose Henderson & Pat Nolan A Fishamble Show-in-a-Bag Production, 2017 National tour. 'one of the most sensitive, heartfelt, and uplifting shows of the festival.' The Arts Review.
'This is an acutely observed piece, inspired by Henderson's family's experience, that has an authentic dignity which affirms that love and good humour can coexist with heartbreak. These topics require sensitive handling and director Liam Halligan steers a steady path.' Fiona Charleton, Sunday Times.
"**** 4 STAR REVIEW, SHOW OF THE WEEK, 'the play, written by the two performers, skillfully keeps the loving relationship central to everything…with very moving performances.’ Michael Moffatt, Mail on Sunday.
‘This Show-in-a-Bag has it all…played to perfection.’ Emer O’Kelly Sunday Independent
'Pygmalion' By Bernard Shaw Smock Alley, Theatre, Dublin, 2017.
‘Shaw’s Pygmalion was written two years before the start of the First World War and features violent or sexual tendencies being disguised under layers of pomp and pretence. The savagery that lies at the essence of the human psyche is never difficult to identify even in today’s world. This production exposes the performances behind social divisions and questions whether money takes more than it gives. There are strong performances and Anna Sheils-McNamee brings a frank irreverence to the character of Eliza Doolittle, which is a useful tool to guard against the excessive dramatics of staged hysteria.’ The Sunday Times
FOUR STARS **** IRISH MAIL ON SUNDAY
‘Halligan allows Shaw’s play to sing through the centuries and Colm McNally’s set and Olga Criado-Monleon’s costumes could well belong to the living rooms of today. The ingrained attitudes towards class and gender – ‘middle-class morality as Eliza’s father put it’ - remain surprisingly modern. Anna Sheils McNamee brings a feisty sauciness to Eliza, ensuring we never envisage her accepting her fate without a fight. Paul Meade’s Higgins seems blinded by his own bravado rather than cruelty. David O’Meara distinguishes himself as Doolittle.’ Sunday Business Post
‘This production is simple, unpretentious and very enjoyable. It puts the emphasis firmly on that firecracker social/sexual dialogue and captures the darker mood that takes over in the last act when Eliza realises she’s trapped helplessly between two social worlds. Paul Meade is an excellent Higgins, Anna Sheils-McNamee is a feisty Eliza who carries off the Cockney flower girl with panache. Her transformation works perfectly in the final scene. Gerard Byrne gentlemanly Colonel Pickering is a splendid foil to the boorishness of Higgins and Deirdre Monaghan is excellent as Higgins no-nonsense mother, while David O’Meara gets the most out of Eliza’s father.’ The Irish Mail on Sunday
‘Language of the Mute’ by Jack Harte New Theatre and National tour, 2017. ‘Jack Harte is liable to face calls for his burning at the stake for his first play. The play’s passion to de-bunk blood sacrifice is as fierce as it is salutary…it cuts to the heart. This is an important play, and deserves some serious objective consideration.’’ Sunday Independent
‘This is a very difficult tale to tell. The play bravely tackles subjects that some would rather not acknowledge and in doing so attempts to give words to those who cannot speak or who are not listened to. The drama takes place between the 1990s and the 1970s, with the transition between these periods being very well directed (Liam Halligan) and structured. Of note, Dene BOLA’s sound skills add an eerie calmness to the transitions and this works very well a furthering the emotional impact of the tale.’ The Public Reviews
'The Importance of Being Honest' by Billie Traynor. Bewley's Cafe Theatre, National Tour, 2017.
'A wise play in an entirely delightful production by Liam Halligan.' Sunday Independent 'In Wilde's play the social commentary is secondary to the entertainment, Traynor balances them equally.' The Sunday Times 'Billie Traynor takes a bold and imaginative leap...it's an homage to Wilde, explored with an admirable lightness of touch. Gwendolen is gloriously self-deluded and an outrageous snob. Traynor and Monaghan counterbalance each other brilliantly...and it has plenty of contemporary relevance.' Sunday Business Post
'Liam Halligan's direction works fabulously….the onstage chemistry is unshakeable'. The Public Reviews
'What Traynor offers is a wonderful piece, bright and breezy. A wonderfully pleasant way to spend an hour in the theatre. It is delivered finely by the cast and deftly directed by Liam Halligan.' Red Curtain Review
'Mary Stuart' By Schiller Pageant Wagon, Dublin's Freemason's Hall, 2015. ‘This classic masterpiece of political dissent is as fresh and vibrant today as it must have been in the 19th century. The play is an unflinching portrayals of the political elite and the shadowy forces that attempt to disrupt the order and the rulings of the establishment. This is what great plays do: they express themes and sentiments that can never be banished from society.’ Four Stars **** Entertainment.ie
'The Hunter Returns' by Lally Katz, Project Arts Centre, Dublin. 2009.
Lally Katz's play challenges the actors to move out of the comfort zone of psychological realism on a number of levels. The entire ensemble is to be commended for its willingness to invest so fully in the collectivity that Liam Halligan's beautiful imagistic production demands.' Sara Keating, The Irish Times
'The Turn of the Screw' Storytellers National tour, 2007 Adapted and directed by Liam halligan.
‘A fine production, stunning in its simplicity. Ruth McGill’s excellent performance is painfully raw…gorgeously reproduced.’ Sunday Business Post ‘A truly memorable theatrical work. this superb production and a riveting adaptation.’ Irish Examiner
'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Storytellers/the Irish Chamber Orchestra co-production. directed by Lawrence Evans and Liam Halligan. National Concert Hall and Tour, 2008.
‘A bewitching, beguiling night’s theatre. Right from the first four chords we were in a place apart, a place where theatricality and musical magic happened. It was a magical experience superbly played by all.’ Irish Examiner ‘A high energy production delivering hit by hit.' The Irish Times
'Mushroom' by Paul Meade. Storytellers National Tour, 2007. ‘A real development in Irish Theatre.’ R.T.E. The View
‘LESS THAN A YEAR’ A Verbatim Text piece by Helena Enwright Island Theatre Company, Limerick, 2005.
‘The play gains extraordinary power from its use of testimony. It is transformed from a personal story into a universal dilemma, giving the play political bite.’ The Irish Times
'Speaking in Tongues' by Andrew Bovell. A Quare Hawks / Civic Theatre co-production. National tour, 2004.
‘It is the music that strikes the distinctive mood for this production. The off kilter approach to the music is in harmony with the writing as it slips slides around between different stories and characters falling in to and out of relationships. Director Liam Halligan is sensitive to the verbal bounce of the first act and the more somber mood of the second.’ Evening Echo
'Dream of a Summer's Day' Adapted by Liam Halligan from the life and Stories of Lafcadio Hearn. Storyteller's National tour, 2004.
‘A very sophisticated piece of work…a fully realised vision …essentially beautiful. A high watermark of design. Wonderful acting!' R.T.E. The View
'Rashomon' Two stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Storytellers, National Tour, 2003.
‘A savage drama. For seventy-five minutes a hypnotic stage creation unfolds. The original music by Denis Clohessy adds a haunting dimension. This is new ground for Storytellers and they have harvested it with profit.’ The Irish Times
‘The first really striking thing about Rashomon is the sense of theatre at play. Its eventfulness hits you immediately you enter the theatre. What unfolds thereafter lives up to this impression and is a triumph for the three actors, the composer Denis Clohessy and director Liam Halligan. Storyteller’s production wonderfully recreates all the magic and timeless depths of wisdom that resonate in these indelible Japanese tales. This is an imaginative presentation which features glowing performances and a wonderful Zen-like set by Chisato Yoshimi.’ The Irish Examiner
‘Creates an ambience both inviting and disarming. This is a riveting, brain massaging treat.’ The Sunday Business Post
'Leaving' By Philip Osment. Quare Hawks Theatre Company, National tour, 2002/3.
'Leaving is complex, adult and dramatically viable…extraordinary refreshing. Liam Halligan directs with excellent understanding of theme and text.’ Emer O’ Kelly Sunday Independent
‘Leaving is a thought-provoking, insightful and emotional piece of theatre. The acting is first rate. The set design is extremely productive which employs video projection to great effect. Sound, music and lighting all contribute significantly to the play’s hard-hitting emotional impact. Quare Hawks is a polished and assured theatrical machine ploughing through both rural and urban consciousness. Director, Liam Halligan, has a timely production on his hands.’ Brian O’ Connell, The Examiner
‘Leaving is a moving, harrowing and heartbreaking depiction of a family’s story that goes beyond the sum of it’s parts. The production solidly negotiates the line between truthful human behaviour and the symbolic beauty of theatre.’ Susan Conley, What’s on Where
‘The always interesting Quare Hawks present this poetic play by Philip Osment. Liam Halligan’s direction is impeccable in a very worthwhile production.’ Gerry Colgan, Irish Times
‘This production certainly enhances Quare Hawks standing as one of the leading companies in the country. They create graphic and provocative imagery on a minimalist set to chilling effect. By any standards this is a polished and timely production.’ Waterford News and Star
‘There are memorable moments of thought-provoking theatre, and it is obvious that Quare Hawks is taking risks to produce new and interesting theatre that resonates with their audiences. The atmosphere is enhanced by Denis Clohessy’s poignant score, filled with the lonely resonance of an acoustic guitar. The production uses video and projected images to convey a sense of isolation and cleverly manages to suggest a bleak beauty reminiscent of Patrick Kavanagh’s frost-hard but somehow loveable Monaghan.’ Irish Theatre Magazine
‘Leaving'is an excellent, dark tale set in rural Ireland. The production was as one has come to expect from Quare Hawks, a gripping and stylish drama dealing with a subject matter that has touched every part of the country.’ Aodhan O’Faolan, The Nationalist
‘This is contemporary social theatre at it’s most perceptive, directed superbly by Liam Halligan. this is a theatrical treat.’ The Mourne Observer
'Cracked' Devised by Quare Hawks Theatre company. National Tour. 2001/2
‘Directed by Liam Halligan, the production is a stylish and wonderfully wrought piece of theatre. The players combine the best aspects of telling a story and showing it to us as well. Particularly important to this theatricality is the live musical performance by Dennis Clohessy and Marcus Costello’s stunning lighting design. What is most interesting about the show is that it says something about the commonalities across cultures, and indeed centuries, that make this production exceptionally relevant and engaging.’ Susan Conley, What’s On Where
‘Combining music and energetic acting is never going to be an easy process but the performances here are first class. The musical asides made sense where a regular script would undoubtedly fail with such a subject matter. The music spoke volumes in places. To give a human face to the lost Cracked succeeds with style, panache and innovation. A wonderful production from Quare Hawks.' Ronan Casey, Westmeath Examiner
‘Cracked is a great example of how devised work can be of the highest quality…What makes this piece so different are the variables of performance, where the gesture, the visual and the symbolic, become the dominant impressionable aspects. It captures the ennui, the savagery of detention, the rage, the sense of sedation and the helplessness of the patients. ' Eamonn Jordan, Irish Theatre Magazine.
'ThE Undertaking' By Philip Osment, Quare Hawks. Dublin Fringe Festival, National Tour and Stadsschouwburg Anmsterdam. 1999/2000.
‘Excellent production …excellent cast. Well worth a visit.’ The Irish Times ‘A moving and worthwhile production. The play is a rare and welcome look at issues of homosexuality in an Irish context.’ The Sunday Tribune ‘At times hilarious, at other times bleak, this play went down a treat with Cork audiences.’ The Irish Examiner
‘The play raises laudable issues without forcing them. Under Liam Halligan’s direction, all five characters develop steadily. Strong performances…’ Irish Independent
‘A skillful company... this affecting play, a bittersweet meditation on love and life with a spiritual dimension, recalls Chekhov.’ Western European Stages, Amsterdam
‘Osment creates five highly credible characters in this bittersweet look at loves lost. His exploration of tradition and ritual, and how we face up to death, contains some unpleasant truths. It’s explicit and tough talking. Not much rock ‘n’ roll, but a fair bit of everything else.’ Belfast Telegraph
'A Kurt Weill Cabaret' Van Dyjk & Company, London, 1998. 'Extremely expressive, we experience all the raw emotion' Michael Arditti, London's Evening Standard 'A powerful revival' London's Time Out Magazine
'HARD TIMES' Adapted by Mary Elizabeth Burke Kennedy STORYTELLERS, National Tour, 1996. 'Sensitive and detailed direction brings the drama to absorbing life...a complete experience.' The Irish Times
'Dynamic and accessible with characterisation which is both broad and immediate with rigorous physical and vocal precision..infused with a contemporary resonance.' Sunday Tribune 'ANNA CHRISTIE' by Eugene O'Neill, FOCUS THEATRE, Dublin. 1996. 'Packs such a punch! An absorbing revival.' Irish Times 'Flourishes of praise for bringing O'Neill's play so much to life.' The Examiner
'An Ideal Husband' by Oscar Wilde Galloglass Theatre company, National Tour, 1997.
'The sheer modernity shines through, hovering engagingly between drawing room thriller-farce and profundis. A damn pleasure to applaud.' Sunday Times
'A most elegant and enjoyable production.'Irish Times
'Mirandolina' by Carlo Goldoni Galloglass Theatre Company, 1997. 'Non-stop comic action..adapted by Liam halligan, this revival clearly respects the original. he directs with numerous neat touches and a sense of the play's enduring comic content. ' Irish Times
'The Crack and the Whip' by Colin Teevan Galloglass, National Tour, 1996. 'An hilarious new play, a comic tale of all encompassing greed..an evening of great entertainment.' The Nationalist
'SMALL BOX PSYCHOSIS' by Barry McKinley Andrew's Lane Theatre Dublin and Edinburgh Fringe Festival,1996. 'An extremely entertaining mixture' **** The Scotsman