Theatre Review: The Seafarer at the Lyric Theatre


The Lyric’s production of The Seafarer is a beautiful example of black comedy at its absolute best.  It is brilliantly anchored in McPherson’s talented writing, full of beautiful Irish idioms mixed with the strange poetry seen in lines like “you just know god’s in a fly, don’t you?”

The rest of this production matches up to this writing too.  The acting showed that serious consideration had been put into the character development, and it had a natural and realistic feel. This is particularly apparent in Louis Dempsey’s portrayal of the recovering alcoholic “Sharky,” a man who returns to his family home to look after his blind brother “Richard” at Christmas time. Soon friends of the pair call to the house and as the alcohol begins to flow, and cards come to the table, the difficulty Sharky has coping with sobriety is manifest even in the middle of the comical chaos that ensues.

The set also provides a highly naturalistic experience.  All of the action takes place in Richard’s living room, and it is clear that every effort had been put into the design of this space.  It was a realistic representation a house that once had been full of life, but now stood dilapidated.  Strangely some of best designed elements of the set, such as the kitchen in the background, were hardly utilised; almost as though it was a piece of craft, rather than set. Ultimately The Seafarer does provide a fantastic visual experience; a dimly-lit sense of neglect permeates well.

The Lyric obviously put themselves out as well to ensure that this performance was extra special, during the interval the audience were greeted with a pack of cards and the rules to a game of poker (the card game of choice within the play) as well as a dealer on site to play a few hands with, and extras like this go a long way in making one feel as though they have gotten their money’s worth.

I would recommend this play. It has that collusive quality that only Irish play can offer: it is endlessly funny and well worth your time.


 Students get £10 tickets for all off-peak performances (Tues & Wed nights and all matinees)

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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