Like a number of other Irish playwrights whose objective has been to reach out to a popular audience, Lynch has been paid scant critical attention. While the early plays, Dockers and The Interrogation of Ambrose Fogarty, earned Lynch praise, the rest of his oeuvre has been largely ignored by critics. Indeed, while some of his work has toured outside of Northern Ireland, it has not been widely regarded, or, until the publication of a series of his works by Belfast's Lagan Press since 2002, widely available. Even within Northern Ireland, middle-class newspaper reviewers have complained that his work panders to sentiment or that it deploys simplistic stereotypes, substituting humour for depth of characterisation or complexity of dramaturgy. In many respects, however, there has been a significant failure to understand the form of Lynch's plays and to engage with the culture which informs them. They view his work from the outside. He does not engage with the rural Ireland of Friel, nor the hard edged urban dramas of Dublin and Cork. His Belfast does not repeat the clichés of much of the cinematic representation of the violence there. Instead, he expands the idea of Ireland to include a class of people much vilified and rarely celebrated. Lynch's popular success is due to his ability to engage with his audience. Yet his is always a contrary position. Despite his socialist activism, his work is marked by a distrust of political orthodoxy and social conformity from whatever source. Ultimately then, he is a socialist playwright because of this commitment to a dialectical engagement with an audience which he knows and respects too much to preach to.
|Title of host publication||Methuen Guide to Contemporary Irish Drama|
|Editors||Martin Middeke, Peter Paul Schnierer|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2010|