Critical Context

In addition to The Weir, for which he won the 1999 Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 1997 Evening Standard Award for Most Promising New Playwright, McPherson has authored the plays Rum and Vodka (pr. 1992), The Good Thief (pr. 1994), St. Nicholas (pb. 1997), and A Dublin Carol (pb. 1999, pr. 2000). He also adapted This Lime Tree Bower (pb. 1996) as the screenplay Saltwater (2000), and wrote the screenplay I Went Down (1997).

Reviews have been very positive about McPherson as a member of a new generation of Irish dramatists who are arguably less political and more universal than the previous generation. McPherson’s greatest gifts are in characterization and dialogue, and in combining humor, irony, and even tragedy in plays that are poignant and moving. His plays depend less on action than on the engagement and discovery of emotionally complex and isolated people. His works have been extremely well received in London, and especially in American cities with large Irish American communities.