All set designs © Paul O'Mahony. Photographs as credited.

Asking For It

"Comyn and her set designer Paul O'Mahony succeed spectacularly. O'Mahony's ingenious set consists of a wall of perspex squares which shapeshifts. During the party scene it morphs into a brilliantly lit double-height buzzing hothouse. The set contracts like a telescope, trapping the family in their kitchen bunker, hidden from judging eyes and social media trolls" The Sunday Times

 

 

Paul O’Mahony’s imposing set — a large Perspex structure made of multiple window panes — is deceptively simple, yet thrillingly effective. It shifts shape to represent a bedroom, school, clubhouse and party.

In the second act, the set closes in on itself as the play’s focus shifts to the O’Donovan household. The wide-open space of the opening act becomes claustrophobic and suffocating as the O’Donovans struggle to deal with the aftermath. The Times

 

 

"...a video image of her face fills the elegant window-panes of Paul O’Mahony’s monolithic set. That structure, a glass house, will shift in both shape and meaning throughout the production. Sinéad McKenna’s lights allow translucent glimpses of writhing bodies at a house party, for instance, where the school GAA heroes prowl, mingled with Jack Phelan’s ghostly video images of girls in states of abandon or distress. Like Sue Mythen’s choreography, which gives the excellent cast one staggering dance sequence – fizzing with performed sexual confidence and aggression – it’s an accomplished, poetic merging of technology and stagecraft." Irish Times

 

"Paul O'Mahony's towering set is a cold and emotionally unyielding superstructure that leaves the wonderful ensemble cast menacing adrift, to be engulfed with the hideously suggestive imagery of Jack Phelan's video design, where Lauren Ceo as Emma is the tiny fly trapped in its venomous amber." Sunday Independent

 

"...this hi-tech and highly beautiful production mines the book's emotional depths for every last second of drama. Emma's world collapses and fragments along with Paul O'Mahony's cool sci-fi set, made up of clear panels that shift and slide to become the street, the football stands, the house party and finally the claustrophobic grey of Emma's house, as "the world gets smaller and smaller, wrapping itself around me". Irish Independent 

 

Look Back in Anger

'Paul O'Mahony's ingenious set is a box frame standing in the empty shell of the Gate stage, a prop table visible to the rear. It has two huge windows, in clear contradiction of the stage directions, to allow for ancillary action in the off-stage space' Irish Independent

 

Dubliners

'a magnificently adaptable and convincing set' Opera Wire

 

Nora

'fabulous set design' Times on Sunday

'Nora looks wonderful' 'elegant design' Irish Independent

 

The Seagull

'...the iridescent backdrop of Paul O'Mahony's gently entrancing set suggests, they all seem to be living in an artwork, neither dated nor fading.'  Irish Times

'Paul O'Mahony's gorgeous photorealist set, knows well that the bigger picture rarely takes shape; life, brutally, is glimpsed only in impressions' Exeunt Magazine

'Paul O'Mahony's simple yet evocative set design suggests rich layers of subtext'  The Arts Review

 

The Wake

'...pushing the Abbey’s resources towards stunning new displays. (Honestly, Abbey, I never knew you could do that.) As Vera tries to find her place in this world, we begin with a vast backdrop of the cosmos, slowly stiffening into a monochrome map of Tuam, resolving, finally, with a hole in the ground. From the universe to the grave, this is performance and design as pure poetry'  Irish Times

 

Hedda Gabler

'delightfully designed by Paul O’Mahony' Irish Independent

‘Superb and committed acting coupled with an exquisite set do much to bring one of modern drama’s most famous characters to life.’ Public Review

'The imposing set design functions very well in the space and allows for the play’s dramatic finale to really resound.'  Public Review

'Coymn's directorial trademark of creating a near-perfect example of ensemble work is well to the fore in this production, as is Paul O'Mahony's cool spacious set.' Sunday Independent

 

The Vortex

'Paul O’Mahony provides a beautiful set' Sunday Times

‘Superbly designed production’ Irish Independent

"The idea that Florence Lancaster (Susannah Harker), an aging socialite, occupies a poisonous social circle extends to the geometry of Paul O’Mahony’s set. A round art-deco space, its beauty seems to spin unhappiness inwards, while people even award each other scores..." Irish Times

 

Major Barbara

"Paul O’Mahony’s set is a cathedral of civilisation. The book-lined study of the Britomart family home is overlooked by a majestic statue of Britannia, who epitomises all the values that the patriarch has overthrown in his embrace of capitalism. By the third act, it has been reconfigured as a monument to war, in a brilliant stroke of visual irony that makes the play feel contemporary."  Irish Times

“matchingly dual-natured and ingeniously grandiose set-design” Irish Independent

“the set, by Paul O’Mahony, is a marvel, which shifts and moves during the evening, even getting its own applause through its graceful, ballet like movements, something wholly unexpected in its execution, but wonderful in its inventiveness. It is lovely to see well choreographed, calm, unrushed set changes giving the production a confidence at all times” The Red Curtain Review

“The set design by Paul O’Mahony is spectacular and compliments the costume and also the direction perfectly. The set astounds the audience with its intricate moving parts that alter the venue scene after scene with flawless precision. Through the prominent display of the statue of Britannia, the set highlights Shaw’s own political implications at various points throughout the play” The Public Reviews

“Its one unorthodox flourish, Paul O’Mahony’s set, is also one of its most memorable features. If a set can be witty, this one is. After the interval, the walls of the Undershafts family’s elegant book-lined drawing revolve, an alcove flipping over to become a giant cannon – it’s not just a change of scene to the arms factory, it also brilliantly underlines how the family, despite its claims to be at a moral distance from Undershaft, are actually part of the same fabric.” Metro Hearld

 

An Enemy of the People

"Wayne Jordan directed An Enemy of the People with (once again) Paul O'Mahony's set design taking the year's plaudits in a period which saw a lot of good design" Irish Independant

"Sensationally designed by Paul O'Mahony" Irish Times

"Paul O’Mahony’s set is beautifully designed, using a fine interplay between light and darkness, and cleverly shrinking the space available to Stockmann as his plight intensifies during the play." Irish Theatre Magazine

 

The Talk of the Town

“…the set is absolutely magnificent” BBC Radio Ulster

“…with Paul O’Mahony’s excellent set at once linking and marking off the two kinds of terrain.” Irish Times

“Paul O’Mahony’s set takes on a kind of metamorphic character of its own.  Decked with book shelves, writing desks and half-drank glasses of martini (or milk, as William Shawn’s seemingly preferred beverage), the space is reinvented for each scene at the hands of the actors in sharply choreographed outbursts of dance, purposeful rearrangement and drunken disorder to the beat of Philip Stewart’s evocative soundscape. Altogether this production is a sensual, scrupulous and compelling examination of the rise and fall of one of Ireland’s most talented and equally troubled female literary figures.” Irish Theatre Magazine

“Worthy of note are the rather exceptional costumes by Irish fashion designer Peter O’Brien and an inventive set by Paul O’Mahony.” The Stage Review

 

The House

"Paul O'Mahony's double revolve set is pretty well a masterpiece..." Sunday Independent

"Paul O’Mahony puts that tension into his fascinating set, shifting its locations with two unfussy turntables, using a severity of colour to keep nostalgia at bay and stretching pastoral photographs across a cyclorama so their details distend – like a memory. It underlines the play’s diasporic limbo: home is not an ever-fixed mark, change is inexorable, resistance is tragic." Irish Times

"Paul O'Mahony's first rate set" Sunday Times

 

Pygmalion

“In a play where everything is judged on appearance (a gentleman is recognised by his boots not his manners), Paul O’Mahony’s set plays delightful games with surface. The filing boxes of Higgins’ study climb to impossible reaches, a scientific obsession rendered toweringly absurd… elegantly designed…” Irish Times  

“It's a joy from start to finish, its elegance and verve wrapped in lush and imaginative visuals…” Sunday Independent

“… an extraordinary set… the set is amazing… were daring with the staging… wonderful staging [which] rescues this from potentially being a popular period piece… phenomenal sets, which are grand elaborate things, which also give a sense of the extraordinary social orders, scientific ideas, systems of knowledge that are really important… Babel-like tower of knowledge… renders it in a way Gothic… transforms it into this extraordinarily, absurdly oversized situation in which these characters have to negotiate, but very very visually powerful and very very modern - pitched at that moment of the modern which I thought made it very exciting.” The View, RTE Television

“Paul O’Mahony’s sets and Mick Hughes’s lighting design are wonderful” Sunday Times

 

Medea

“…extraordinary set…” The View, RTE Television

“Paul O’Mahony’s remarkable set mirrors a contemporary house, with two bedrooms, a sitting room and a kitchen. It is cluttered with domestic detail…” Irish Times

 

The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly

“As well as the vividness of the script, Lynne Parker's production has two great strengths. First is actor Louis Lovett… Second is Paul O'Mahony's set, a crate that unfolds to reveal boxes within boxes, allowing Lovett to switch from domestic interior to city silhouette while mirroring the girl's family business in packing. It's inspired.” The Guardian

“… ingenious set…” Irish Times

“… ingenious set…” Metro

“Louis Lovett is greatly assisted by Paul O’Mahony’s ingenious, literal box set, a mysterious crate of delights, starting out like something mammoth from Amazon.com and gradually opening, like a Russian doll, to reveal boxes within boxes, laden with light and sound and surprises. “ Irish Theatre Magazine

 

This is Our Youth

“[The] intimate traverse production places the characters in close proximity to the audience. Paul O’Mahony’s set forces the characters physically close to each other too, a use of space that subtly underscores the power dynamics of the play. The sole piece of furniture in the spartan bedsit in which the play is set is a bare mattress on the floor. It is so close to the ground that when standing the characters appear too large for the room – like they have outgrown it, a clever visual foreshadowing of the central theme.”  Irish Times

 

Love and Money

“Paul O'Mahony's set is suitably high-tech in feeling” Sunday Independent

“…looks as sleek and expensive as the consumer culture and credit packages it smashes…”  Irish Times

 

Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer

“…ingenious set… ” Metro

“In both design and delivery, it is as structurally challenging as a work can be. The set, beautifully realised by Paul O’Mahony, rises up in vertical columns.” Irish Times

“Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer was a fairly dazzling achievement for director Tom Creed and designer Paul O'Mahony.” Sunday Independent

 

Wedding Day at the Cro-Magnons

“…excellent set…” Sunday Independent

“Paul O’Mahony’s set is suitably dour, suggesting not only symbolic decay but actual destruction commensurate with life in a war zone...” Irish Theatre Magazine                         

 

The Seafarer

“…magnificently dingy set…” Irish Daily Mail

“…in the capable hands of Paul O’Mahony.” Sunday Independent

 

Roberto Zucco

“An impressive production that is relentlessly grim… The moral darkness is matched by the huge shadows and steel structures that tower over the characters.” Mail on Sunday

“Paul O’Mahony stylish scaffold set provides a structure from which Aaron Monaghan as Zucco manages to give a highly physical performance…” Irish Theatre Magazine

“…its cultural homogeneity it seems hermetically sealed, nihilistic but narcissistic. Paul O'Mahony's set, a grey prison of steel scaffolds and concrete slab…reflects that inward focus.” Irish Times

 

Saved

“The sitting room set by Paul O’Mahony is well conceived, with its sharp angled walls and stark furnishings creating a claustrophobic but uncluttered stage that cleverly signaled the home as a prison. The other settings of the park and café are also simple and effective…” Irish Theatre Magazine

 

Don Carlos        

“It is a production that envelopes you as soon as you walk into the performance space, thanks to Paul O’Mahony’s set design which transforms Projects black box into a gloomy and oppressive space, dwarfing the audience with its soaring columns and high, dimly lit windows, and creating an atmosphere of enforced containment and claustrophobia, the perfect setting for the ensuing power-struggles, intrigue and deceit.”  Event Guide

“The air hangs heavy in the court of King Philip II. It looms down in a smoky haze from high, latticed windows; the pall of 16th-century oppression. ...all the strengths of its considered design … Paul O'Mahony's towering design, slyly incorporating the surrounding audience as a ghostly impression of the lives at stake.”  Irish Times

"Paul O'Mahony's set of tall columns and crepuscular corridors transforms the venue and creates a potent sense of suspicion and claustrophobia" The Guardian

 

This is Not a Life

“Paul O’Mahony’s set design is rich in subtle but telling detail” Sunday Times

 

Underneath the Lintel

“...winningly transformed into a dusty and under-utilised auditorium by Paul O’Mahony, Project Cube was, if not unrecognisable, made utterly perfect for the needs of the play” Irish Theatre Magazine

 

Pyrenees    

“…a splendidly evocative single set” Daily Mail

“…evocatively designed by Paul O’Mahony – whose huge backdrop of cloud, snow, and mountain conjures up ideas of loss, mystery and escape…” Sunday Tribune

 

Urban Ghosts; Pale Angel

“…Paul O’Mahony’s wondrous set…” Sunday Independent

“The imagery is given depth by Paul O’Mahony’s effective, Trompe l’oueil set design: using a mirror and a series of diminishing proscenium arches, which suggests frames within frames – photographic and theatrical”. Irish Theatre Magazine

“Bedrock appeared to have drawn the short straw venue-wise… Paul O’Mahony’s set design for Urban Ghosts, therefore, came as a stunning surprise, as it rendered the space, well, wieldy: narrowing our focus through the use of purpose built walls and a beautiful wooden stage, he reduced our immediate sense of space and then opened it up, gradually revealing a deeper playing area, guiding our eyes back using a series of squared off arches and mirrors, simply but effectively attaining an utter transformation of the cavernous room. Upon this set played out two productions that differed drastically in scale of ideas…” Irish Theatre Magazine

 

The Two Houses

“Paul O’Mahony’s magnificent set of Una and Alan’s cottage unfolds before us” Irish Theatre Magazine

 

Epic

“the style of the work is a take on commedia dell’ arte, the Italian improvised theatre; the impression is deepened by Paul O’Mahony’s fabulous skull masks,..” Irish Times

“… set designer Paul O’Mahony creates a stage that perfectly evokes the dark, tense... It’s an ambitious project, made all the more intense by thumping dance music and O’Mahony’s superb cow skull mask’s,...” Sunday Tribune

“Paul O’Mahony’s atmospheric set design tees things up nicely- a moveable structure…becomes a burial chamber, a cattle truck, a disco platform, a couple of park benches, the Liffey embankment, an affluent private residence, a church.” Irish Times

“So well staged, such a wonderful use of theatre as a space for the potential of the imagination – so contemporary and very exciting” RTE Radio