Little Gem

Update: All performances are Sold Out. Wait list begins one hour prior to showtime.

The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation presents LITTLE GEM, winner of this year’s Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, the highest honor at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

LITTLE GEM was written by Elaine Murphy and is directed by Paul Meade, produced by Gúna Nua Theatre Company and the Civic Theatre, with support from Culture Ireland.

The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation partners with The Flea to present the winning production in January 5 – 16, 2010.


LITTLE GEM is the first full-length play by young Irish playwright Elaine Murphy. It is a year in the life of three generations of women whose adventures in love, sex, birth, death, and salsa classes enthrall and entertain audiences in this revealing, poignant and very funny play. Performed expertly by Hilda Fay, Sarah Greene and Anita Reeves, LITTLE GEM has played to packed houses in Ireland and Edinburgh.

Carol Tambor notes, “The magic in Elaine Murphy’s debut play lies in her truthful writing and the delivery by three extraordinary actors. Three female generations of the same Dublin family expose their messy, loving relationships— and the audience is drawn into their wonderful family. As Lyn Gardner said in her Guardian review: ‘You just want to hug them.’ Amen.”


The play runs January 5 – 16.
Tues – Sat at 7pm, and Sat matinees at 3pm.

Tickets are $40 and are on sale now. They may be purchased by clicking the red TIX link at the top of this page, or by calling 212-352-3101.

LITTLE GEM runs 1 hour and 40 minutes, with no intermission.


5 stars TIME OUT, LONDON “… this award-winning debut from Dublin writer Elaine Murphy is, delightfully, a tiny treasure. Murphy’s trio of interwoven monologues from a daughter, mother and grandmother swept the board at the Dublin Fringe. And no wonder. Lippy teen Amber, her compulsively cleaning mother Lorraine and her enduringly optimistic Nan Kay are drawn beautifully – in comically spiked prose that pins them down with accuracy and compassion through a year full of trial and surprises.

… in many ways this show, which made me laugh and cry with pleasure, is like a really marvellous wake: it brings three generations together in an emotive booze-up of sorrow, precarious joy and inappropriate laughter.

… And it’s rare to see fiction that acknowledges the effects of the loss of a sex-life on women caring for sick partners – and rarer still to see it acknowledged with wit and wisdom.

… But any woman out there facing down the barrel of marriage, childbirth or old age would be well advised to ditch the sambuca and come to Little Gem instead. – Caroline McGinn

5 stars THE BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE “..Elaine Murphy has announced herself to be a female challenger to Conor McPherson whose writing can bear the comparison with the master of his art. Little Gem will undoubtedly travel the English speaking world, and as it does so will proclaim Elaine Murphy one of the most promising new playwrights around. Her cast and director can be proud and should also win their fair share of awards” –Philip Fisher

4 stars THE GUARDIAN “This is a play that, like its characters, gurgles and giggles with life even in the face of death. Murphy and her brilliant cast make us care about every breath these women take, and make you want to hug them” -Lyn Gardner

THE SCOTSMAN “...Murphy delivers it with terrific conviction, and three stunning performances from Sarah Greene as Amber, Hilda Fay as Lorraine and the wonderful Anita Reeves as Kay”- Joyce McMillan

4 stars THE HERALD “...a sparky set of performances from Sarah Greene, Hilda Fay and Anita Reeves, whose final moments of acceptance, warms the heart even as you share her sadness”- Neil Cooper

4 stars THE TIMES “...blazing authenticity – and with the performances to back it up…Sarah Greene…Hilda Fay…Anita Reeves…are all terrific. We all, I fancy, left feeling just that little bit better about life” – Robert Dawson Scott


To be eligible for The Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, the show must be an original work, never seen in New York City, and have received a 4-star or 5-star review from The Scotsman, Scotland’s foremost daily newspaper. The winning production was chosen by Carol Tambor and members of her Foundation, along with The Scotsman Newspaper’s arts writers Joyce Macmillian, Jackie McGlone and Mark Fisher.

Now in its 6th year, the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award builds a bridge between New York City and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. Created by Carol Tambor in 2004, the inaugural award winners were “Sister’s, Such Devoted Sisters” and “Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles”. This showcase resulted in both shows being picked up for productions in the US and Canada.

In 2005, The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation presented the critically acclaimed NYC premiere of Andrew Dawson’s “unbearably beautiful” (NY Times) “Absence and Presence”. The 2006 winner, Michael Redhill’s “Goodness”, received wide critical acclaim and was called “gripping and important” by the New York Times. 2007’s winner “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” was presented in conjunction with the Under the Radar Festival. This surreal satire, which used animation and live performance to tell 10 startling and funny tales, was the recipient of two Drama Desk nominations and returned to the US in May as part of the Spoleto Festival. The work has subsequently toured Australia, Korea, Sri Lanka and Singapore, among other countries.

Last year’s winner, “Eight” by Ella Hickson, subsequently went on to receive a critically acclaimed run in the West End at Trafalgar Studio, and in New York at P.S. 122

Carol Tambor is a portrait artist by trade and a theater aficionado. For over a decade prior to creating the award, she had traveled to Edinburgh to enjoy the Festival offerings. Dismayed that so many fine plays never transferred to NYC, she decided to create an opportunity for New York audiences to get a taste of the Edinburgh theater offerings.

The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation was established to bring excellent dramatic work to the New York audience by funding the New York run. The mission to support artists in their desire to be seen and produced is carried out with no financial or commercial involvement in their future success.

For more info, visit their website HERE


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, has been ongoing since 1947. Fringe 2009 features over 34,000 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 different venues throughout Edinburgh. The 2008 Festival sold more than 1.5 million tickets during its 3 weeks, the sixth consecutive year the Fringe sailed past the one million-ticket barrier. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has served as a launching pad for the careers of renowned stars such as Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Jude Law and Eddie Izzard as well as renowned playwrights like Tom Stoppard.