The Critic

Conor McPhearson

Simon Evans


Donmar Warehouse, London; Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin (Dublin Theatre Festival); Goodman Theatre, Chicago


Completed play

"DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL: Saint Nicholas – Smock Alley, Dublin"

By Laura MarriottThe Reviews Hub

“In the dark, there are vampires.”

So, first things first. This is Brendan Coyle’s return to the Irish stage for the first time since 2002 and he is reuniting with playwright Conor McPherson for the Irish premiere of Saint Nicholas. For everyone wanting to know if it was worth the wait: it was...

"Brendan Coyle...meets a useful critic"

By Chris JonesChicago Tribune

Conor McPherson’s “St. Nicholas” is a play about a theater critic — an irascible, caustic, mostly detestable Dublin scribe of the old, pre-Facebook school...

"St Nicholas | Donmar Theatre | Review"

By Alice FosterTheaterSoutheast

The room is dark, chairs are scattered across in a random fashion, carpets lie underfoot muffling the sounds of footsteps and in four corners there are buckets of water. In the centre, a desk and a chair, and sitting on that chair is our nameless man, our narrator through the madness. St Nicholas is a strange story, part vampire yarn, part morality tale, it straddles the line between reality and dreams and brings its audience along for the ride. Over the course of two hours, our narrator tells us his story of how he came to meet the vampires – or did he?...

"Review: Brendan Coyle in St Nicholas, Donmar Dryden Street"

By RevStanRevStan's Theatre Blog

The Donmar has set about making this production of Conor McPherson's monologue St Nicholas an exclusive, intimate and atmospheric experience...

"‘St Nicholas’ review"

By Andrzej LukowskiTIme Out: London

Brendan Coyle is excellent in Conor McPherson’s chilling vampire monologue...

"Theatre review: St Nicholas"

By Fiona CharletonThe Times

“When I was a boy, I was afraid of the dark,” confides Brendan Coyle, of Downton Abbey fame in the opening line of St Nicolas. Conor McPherson tells masterful stories on stage, weaving magical spells through the power of words, and his 1997 monologue play is no exception...

"‘Mortal Coyle"

By Meadhbh McGrathIndependentIE

A move to Dublin in his teens ignited Brendan Coyle's passion for acting. Now the star is back to the Irish stage...

"‘Vampire valet: ‘Downton Abbey’ star gets his teeth into a new role"

By Gemma TiptonIrish Times

Brendan Coyle is best known as Downton’s valet Mr Bates, but he’s in darker territory at the Dublin Theatre Festival in Conor McPherson’s vampire tale ‘St Nicholas’...

"'Downton Abbey’ star Brendan Coyle headed to Goodman Theatre with ‘St. Nicholas’"

By Miriam Di NunzioChicago Sun Times

Perhaps most familiar to U.S. audiences for his role as Mr. Bates, the valet with a heart of gold on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series “Downton Abbey,” Brendan Coyle will make his Goodman Theatre debut this winter in the U.S. premiere of Connor McPherson’s thriller “St. Nicholas.”...

"Dublin Theatre Festival 2018: Full programme of new, classic, Irish and international productions announced"

By StaffIndependentIE

...Conor McPherson’s chilling play St Nicholas receives its Irish premiere in an intimate new production by the Donmar Warehouse (UK) which sees Brendan Coyle return to the Irish stage for the first time since 2002, directed by Simon Evans.

A cynical and jaded theatre critic in his late fifties falls for a beautiful young actress. In pursuing her, he meets a group of modern-day vampires who offer him eternal life, while his part of the bargain is to feed their bloodlust.

  • Written while McPherson was attached to the Bush Theatre, London, under the Pearson Television Theatre Writers’ Scheme.

  • First performed at the Bush Theatre on 19 February 1997.

"'St. Nicholas' at the Goodman: As a booze-soaked critic pursued by vampires, the star of 'Downton Abbey' brings real shudders"

By Chris JonesChicago Tribune

The arrogant, self-loathing theater critic — is there another kind? — at the heart — if he had one — of Conor McPherson’s “St. Nicholas” is a man of opinions. Strongly held views are de rigeur for the job, I’m here to tell you, but that does not mean that McPherson’s ink-stained, unnamed, booze-soaked, megalomaniacal anti-hero had considered views of life and art across so many years of experience that the initial hope of the smart young influencer had curdled into in a stew of cynicism. No, no, no, no, no...