Last night, Wexford Drama Group brought a new play, previously unseen by the adjudicator Russel Boyce, to the Athlone Stage. Other Desert Cities made its Broadway debut in 2012, to critical acclaim.
It's set in Palm Springs, Los Angeles in 2004 during the Iraq War, where wealthy show-biz family the Wyeths welcome home their children for the holidays. However, when daughter Brooke announces she has written her memoirs, a myriad of secrets and lies threaten to destroy the fragile peace of an unhappy home.
The adjudicator was particularly impressed by the set construction, remarking how impressive it was that such a set could be constructed in a matter of hours.
As regards the performances, he was highly praising of the actors naturalism on stage and felt they gave a very real and natural performance. While perhaps he thought, the performances lacked some characterisation in the first act, by the second act, the actors really pushed through and remedied this issue and delivered strong character performances.
Commenting on Paul Walsh's direction, he complimented his sensitivity as a director and said the role of a director is to be a mediator between the playwright and the audience and the director achieved that exact role.
In summing up, he commented that this was a play that was worth doing and a play that was certainly worth seeing.
It was a great end to a fantastic festival which had a wide variety of plays, from drama, to farce and some classics spread in between.
Tonight the awards ceremony takes place, and as he has all week, adjudicator Russell Boyce has kept his cards very close to his chest.
Who will lift the coveted perpetual trophy is anyone's guess!