The Seafarer by Conor McPherson is back again at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. It is a welcome return. For me this is one of the most engaging and resonant modern plays that I have ever seen. It heartily reaffirms my faith in “Art” at a time when many other forms are cannibalising themselves and becoming quickly devalued.
The Seafarer is hilarious, scary, moving. There is more than a cursory nod towards many of Dickens’ themes but for me – all the best stories are about redemption.
The set is great, the cast excellent: Don Wycherley (v.funny), Liam Carney, Maelíosa Stafford, Nick Dunning, Phelim Drew. I have seen the play twice and with Lockhart played by two different actors. Nick Dunning’s portrayal was chilling and smooth, he played the character with an ease and confidence that was subtle and brought an extra chill to the stage.
But for me “Sharky” steals the show, I think Liam Carney is an very understated and potent actor whose presence brings both great humanity and edge to the proceedings.
However, it would be unfair to focus on only one or two elements, every player brings something special to the table that when effectively combined produce a very Irish play; partially about that most sacred of cows – our twisted love affair with drink.
Sometimes the play is more like a documentary, but that could be also because it is easy to detect much that is soaked in real world experience. McPherson has masterfully created a gem that operates as all good art should – on a level that induces a sense of catharsis in the audience, making you feel like you have been through an ordeal and come out refreshed looking at the world anew.
Yes, this review is full of superlatives – but they are all deserved. Go.