Michael Gilroy

Michael Gilroy

Actor – Press

Height:
Build:
Eyes:
Hair:
5' 8"
Athletic
Blue
Light Brown

Private Jokes, Public Places

Until Dec 2nd at New End Theatre, London

Review from TimeOut.com (Nov 2006)
What is architecture really about: buildings, or people? That’s the question posed, reconsidered and nibbled at from every angle by Oren Safdie’s play, and the one facing Margaret as she presents her public swimming pool project to an expert panel of architects.

We’re at a student forum in a US university, and you certainly feel a collegiate sympathy for MJ Kang’s Margaret as she nervously introduces her work. There are two intimidating presences in the room: Erhardt (Colin Starkey), an unreconstructed European with a taste for the flamboyant and a love of his own voice, and Colin, a straight-talking Brit with no time for Margaret’s opinions – namely that architects are spending too much time honing their own egos, rather than a contented society.
Both Safdie’s writing and Leon Rubin’s direction are unapologetic in their didactic feel. Erhardt lectures us in opaque, jargon-heavy monologues about sociology and aesthetics that get a well-earned laugh when his colleague dryly asserts that ‘architecture is not about words’. But boy, are there a lot of them. As the debate strays into dangerously personal territory, Rubin succeeds in making us feel uncomfortably involved in the acrimonious spectacle. Margaret’s swimming pool becomes more than a few pieces of balsa wood; it’s a battleground for the soul of architecture. Starkey and Robert East create a tension-fuelled double act as the bickering architects, and Michael Gilroy adds humour as Margaret’s professor, who mediates while the protagonists work themselves up into acrimony (and who appears to have rather too close a relationship with his student). But although Safdie surprises us with a dramatic sign-off, the play often feels like an academic, if thought-provoking, exercise.

– Emma John

Private Jokes, Public Places

Until Dec 2nd at New End Theatre, London

Review from OnStage.co.uk (Nov 2006)
Sometimes in Oren Safdie’s play set during graduation at a New York architecture school, the making of the point gets in the way of the point being made.

The architecture student turned playwright wants to highlight the artifice in art and that too much intellectualising can remove architecture and culture in general away from the world it is meant to reflect and serve.

To do this, a professor, Colin, and a visiting lecturer, Erhardt, judge a graduation show featuring the work of idealistic scholar Margaret. But their – admittedly deliberately comical – philosophical dissection of every aspect of poor Margaret’s work is so complex that the audience is inclined to turn off completely and let the play wash over them.

It is incredibly tricky to turn comically pretentious dialogue into something that at the same time is accessible and entertaining for an audience and here Safdie fails.
That’s not to say that, at the end of the play, his point hasn’t been made. It has, with no little thanks to excellent performers working from within his well-crafted characters.

MJ Kang allows Margaret to be both headstrong and deflated as she is crushed by the racist misogyny of her lecturers. Robert East makes Colin boorish without being boring and Colin Starkey’s Erhardt is a comical counterpoint and a touchstone for the audience.

And, considering this is a play about architects, Dermot Hayes’ set is appropriately evocative.

– Jeremy Austin

www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/14908/private-jokes-public-places