God Has No Country

Written and performed by Donal Courtney, God Has No Country is the story of Hugh O’Flaherty a priest from Killarney that saved 6,500 lives in Rome during World War 2. This one-man play charts the true story of O'Flaherty through his early years, through his time at the Vatican and some of his latter life back in Ireland. O'Flaherty tasks himself with setting up an underground network to help those fleeing the Nazi's.

Donal Courtney is a talented actor, he's put all of his heart and soul into this play and it really shows.

The script is pared down to the very basics and it works remarkably well. Courtney has clearly researched the man and his life with great care. Writing such a play it would be easy to get distracted in recounting some astounding stories, with O'Flaherty the idiom "truth is stranger than fiction" holds true. But it focuses on what we need to know to keep the plot moving forward.

While the characters journey is very pleasing he lacks a strong opposition. At first, the Nazi presence is faceless, an unknown horror. This works because he is fighting in a metaphysical realm, quite apt for a priest. But as O'Flaherty becomes more renowned he finds himself under the gaze of Herbert Kappler chief of the Roman SS. The later part of the play revolves around their relationship. Historically it makes sense that he is introduced when he is but it becomes such an important part of the production that you can't help but feel that it maybe should have been introduced earlier.

Donal Courtney is a talented actor, he's put all of his heart and soul into this play and it really shows. He does a great job of inhibiting O'Flaherty and although it seems restrained there is a lot going on under the surface. There are many great theatrical flourishes that help ensure the show doesn't become an hour long monologue. During the course of the play, we occasionally are introduced to his allies and enemies that help or hinder his efforts, all played by Courtney. They are all distinct and shows he has a master of physical acting.

God Has No Country is a great tale told by a fantastic storyteller and is certainly worth seeing if only to learn about the fascinating character that was Hugh O’Flaherty.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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The Blurb

A dramatic retelling of the war time exploits of Irish priest Hugh O’Flaherty and how he saved the lives of 6,500 people in Rome during World War 2.

Developed through Fishamble New Play Clinic.

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