Dublin’s double act
SIR: it is always a pleasure to read Valerie’s Grove’s radio column, and all the more so when she includes programmes of Irish interest. Her comments on Simon Callow’s Radio 3 The Essay ‘The Boys’ – about Edwards and Mac Liammóir and their theatre in Dublin (September issue) – are accurate in that the Gate Theatre was styled by the knowing as ‘Sodom’, in a reference to its founders’ sexual orientation.
However, Dublin wit did not then simply call the Abbey Theatre ‘Gomorrah’, after another biblical city of the plain.
Rather, the Abbey became ‘Begorrah’, since the national theatre regularly produced Irish plays with rural settings, in contrast to the international repertoire offered by the Gate. Thus the two theatres jointly attracted the soubriquets Sodom and Begorrah. Chris Spurr, Ballygowan, County Down, Northern Ireland.