BWW Review: THE SEAFARER First Rate Irish Tall Tale

BWW Review: THE SEAFARER First Rate Irish Tall Tale

THE SEAFARER is a 2006 play by Irish playwright Conor McPherson. Set on Christmas Eve in Baldoyle, a coastal suburb north of Dublin city, the play centers on James "Sharky" Harkin (Steve Wright), an alcoholic who has recently returned to live with his blind, aging brother, Richard Harkin (Rick Felkins). Sharky's attempts to stay off the bottle are sorely tested by the hard-drinking, irascible Richard. Tension between them is evident from the start and exists mostly from Richard's constant sniping and excessive demands on his younger brother. A source of early conflict stems from Richard's inviting Nicky Gilbin (Scot Friedman) to join the men, along with Ivan (Rick Smith), for a game of poker. Nicky, as romantic rival of Sharky's, unexpectedly arrives for the card game with the mysterious Mr. Lockhart (Garry Peters). The play was nominated for multiple Tony Awards as well as the Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award for Best Play.

Director Karen Sneed has done a fine job with McPherson's tall Irish tale. The staging is excellent, telling the audience things they need to know simply by placement. The evening flows beautifully with fine accents and performances from all five actors, who are at the top of their games. Scot Friedman, Rick Felkins, Garry Peters, Rick Smith, and Steve Wright all deliver great, three dimensional and believable characters, keeping the audience engaged and highly entertained. They function as such a true ensemble that it isn't possible to separate one performance from the other.

The tech here is also top notch. From Andy Berkovsky's set and lighting design to Rosalie Oliveri's smart costuming plot, there isn't a thing out of place. Carl Ziegler's sound design is terrific, especially the Irish music that sets the mood before the performance starts.

I don't want to go into too much detail here, because it could quite easily spoil the fun of the tall tale that unfolds. Just trust me on this one, because this is a great fun evening of engaging story telling. I give THE SEAFARER my highest recommendation. Don't miss this great little show at The City Theatre.

THE SEAFARER by Conor McPherson

Running Time: Approximately Two Hours plus Intermission

THE SEAFARER, produced by The City Theatre Company at The City Theatre (3823 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX, 78722).

November 3 - 26. Thursday - Saturday 8:00 pm. Sunday 3:00 pm. Additional shows Wednesday, November 8 and 15. 8 pm
General Seating $15. Front/2nd Row Reserved $20-25. Thursday all seats $10. Tickets at the door $20. Group and student discounts. Or call 512-524-2870, email or go online at

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From This Author Frank Benge