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Tom Murphy's early masterpiece, A Whistle in the Dark depicts the reunion of an Irish family in Coventy: a picture of Irishmen 'over here' asserting themselves in one of England's post-war dream cities. Michael Carney has left Mayo for Coventry, hoping to leave behind his homeland and his past with modest ambitions for a decent job and respectable family. However, he is relentlessly pursued by his past: a past that is both the flesh of his own family and the soured spirit of a haunted, marginalised people.
With tragic inevitability, the impossibility of escape from his own dark history becomes all too obvious. Produced to a mixture of acclaim and notoriety by Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1961, Whistle in the Dark is now regarded as a modern classic. 'It is a considerable and refreshing shock to encounter this clenched fist of a play...National identity has been a theme in contemporary Irish drama common to Murphy, Friel and McGuinness.
Nothing has been so brutish and direct, though, as this picture of Irishmen "over here" asserting themselves in one of England's post-war dream cities.' (Financial Times) 'A play worthy of every tribute.' (The Times)