Like Translations, The Communication Cord is set in a seaside cottage in the remote townland of Ballybeg in County Donegal, though the time is the present. Like that masterpiece, it too is preoccupied with language and the effects of language, and it addresses a characteristic Friel concern. As Seamus Deane writes, ‘the most sterile of illusions is exposed — that of a heroic past that has dwindled to a most unheroic present’. Brian Friel’s farce is brilliantly orchestrated and choreographed. And it is constantly hilarious.
With The Communication Cord Brian Friel does more than maintain his reputation as a master playwright. He establishes himself as one of the most courageous of writers: for this new farce is virtually a send-up of the sentiments so movingly expressed in his own Translations. — David Nowlan, The Irish Times
‘In its use of language, The Communication Cord is a work of consummate cleverness and is at times very, very funny . . . above all it confirms Friel’s ability to wriggle out of formal and thematic straitjackets. To the pleasure of the comedy is added the enjoyment of watching a good escapologist.’ — Fintan O’Toole, In Dublin
‘. . . the author takes hold of farce by its rough neck and fashions the forthright dramatic device into a pearl of sparkling comedy.’ — Michael Sheridan, The Irish Press