By Robert Hogan
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Additional resources for After the Irish Renaissance: A Critical History of the Irish Drama since The Plough and The Stars
His last Abbey play, Friends and Relations, was first performed on June 30, 1941. It tells of how the friends and relations of a millionaire react to his will. Much of the play's value lies in its well-considered, twopronged theme. Ervine raises the questions of the use to which a very large sum of money should be put and of how self-sufficient and divorced from society a man ought to be. Although he avoids a direct answer to either, he also avoids a platitudinous conclusion and creates an absorbing story with well-drawn parts.
Even less successful and more satiric was the adaptation of Sheridan's The Critic, which was produced on January 6, 1931. This local and topical updating of Sheridan's play has unfortunately not been revived or published. Church Street, produced on May 21, 1934, is a long one-act, technically more striking than any other play Robinson wrote. It tells of an Irish playwright who writes unpopular plays about London society and who returns briefly to the Irish village of his birth. He is repelled by its dullness, but his aunt accuses him of being dull and suggests that the villagers embody more dramatic stories than he realizes.
But, although Robinson makes some telling hits at the expense of the ladies' tea club circuit, he also punctures the cultural pretensions of his European lecturers and shows how essentially in quest of the dollar they are. Even less successful and more satiric was the adaptation of Sheridan's The Critic, which was produced on January 6, 1931. This local and topical updating of Sheridan's play has unfortunately not been revived or published. Church Street, produced on May 21, 1934, is a long one-act, technically more striking than any other play Robinson wrote.