Posts Tagged ‘The Seafarer’

Whilst very tempted to write a review of Colm McPhersons “The Seafarer” that just gave it five stars and said “go see it and you’ll understand why,” I do understand reviews don’t work like that so I‘ve bulked it up a little. But I mean it; before I even start the review, that’s exactly what I feel like saying; go see it and you‘ll understand.

Under the advice of a good friend, and having just written an article on the history of the Hellfire Club, one slow Saturday afternoon in January, six of us headed along to a matinee showing of a play said to be inspired by the tale of the Bucks on Montpellier Hill, when Beelzebub himself showed up during a late night game of cards, and upon losing, stamped his hoof on the floor and took off. (That mark, according to local superstitious types, can still be seen today.)

The Seafarer

The Seafarer, from last years run at An Grianán.

Captivating from the start, the story, the characters and the actors that portray them are so… familiar. Bleak, but uproariously funny, there’s a comedy in the dark, unfolding drama and maybe it’s comedy that only the Irish can understand. For while I found it hard to retain my laughter at times, as did most of the audience, half of our company were not from this Island and thought we were sick, or mad, or both, to be laughing at the despair portrayed on stage. McPherson even admitted this himself, saying Irish audiences would understand the play better than those in London or New York.

Set in Baldoyle, but namedropping an expanse of Dublin streets and pubs, the plot centres around the return of Sharkey (Liam Carney) to Dublin at Christmas time to the house his newly-visually-impaired brother Richard (Maelíosa Stafford) inherited from their parents.  Chaotic from the start, Richard and pal Ivan (Don Wycherly) test Sharkey’s patience to the limit as he tries to stay off the drink for a third consecutive day, as they nurse the mother of all hangovers, sneakily tucking into a bottle Gold Label for breakfast. I can’t compliment Don Wycherly’s performance enough; I spent most of the play watching him rather than what was going on on-stage as he stayed in character for the full three hours. Ivan is the epitomy of the lovable Irish scally- Disheveled, simple, nervous, good natured and an out-and-out alcoholic. I’d do him an injustice to describe him as any more than that; what he does on stage is just… madcap, hilarious and truly brilliant. 

The story unfolds as Sharkey’s past unravels, and it’s with the arrival of Nicky (Played by Phelim Drew, son of a hero of ours here at CHTM, Ronnie,) and Mr. Lockhart (Nick Dunning) that we get the real story about Sharkey, an alcoholic, a “Useless Eegit” whose life has been “nothing more than a series of fuck-ups” but who has “Potential” according to his loving brother Richard. As they start into their annual game of poker, and the ante’s get higher and higher, Mr. Lockhart reveals himself to Sharkey as the devil, come to claim his soul, having been beaten by Sharkey before, he doesn’t intend to get beaten again. 

The play takes a sidelong glance at the Irish relationship with alcohol, our begrudgery and our inability to share problems. And though the overriding mood of the play is bleak, dark and disparaging, the wit and feelings of hope and redemption win through, and as they say, hope springs, and you do walk out of the play with a smile on your face.

I’ll finish as I started and say go see this play, it runs until January 30th in the Abbey and tickets start at €25.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: