Born in Wexford, Roche worked as an actor and a singer/songwriter with The Roche Band before turning to writing in the 1980s. A novel, Tumbling Down (1986), was followed by three plays which, like the novel, take place in his native Wexford. They are A Handful of Stars (1988), set in a pool hall and involving a young drifter slipping into crime; Poor Beast in the Rain (1989), set in a betting shop owned by a man whose wife has run off with a local ‘wild man’, Danger Doyle, to what has turned out to be a sad, lonely life in London; and Belfry (1991), set in a church and involving a sacristan who launches into a love affair with a married woman. After these plays, performed with great success in London in 1992 as the ‘Wexford trilogy’, came Amphibians (1992) about the decline of the same town's fishing industry and its traditions, and The Cavalcaders (1993), another elegiac comedy, this time involving a group of cobblers who have formed themselves into a barber-shop quartet during their spare hours. Roche's work is notable for its sympathetic, humorous, yet critical portrayal of a community that is both nourishing and stultifying and of the individuals whose lives are both positively and negatively shaped by those profoundly ambivalent roots.
ROCHE IS THE SUBTLEST, DEFTEST TALENT ON EITHER SIDE OF THE IRISH SEA
Benedict Nightingale (London Times)
ROCHE'S WRITING ALLOWS US TO SEE, FLEETINGLY, OUR FATE IN THE WORLD
ROCHE IS A PEERLESS CHRONICLER OF ORDINARY PEOPLE'S LIVES
John Boland (Irish Independent )
BILLY ROCHE IS AN INSPIRATIONAL FIGURE IN CONTEMPORARY IRISH DRAMA
BILLY ROCHE IS A WRITER TO CHERISH
Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph)
Dun Mhuire Theatre, Wexford
Fri 27 & Sat 28 Sept
Tickets €20 + €1 Tkt fee.
Tickets sold at / through the Wexford Arts Centre
The Civic, Tallaght
1–3 & 5 Oct, 8pm
4 Oct, 3pm & 8pm
Post-show Discussion 3 Oct with members of the company.