note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, it turns out, is Irish! THE SEAFARER, Conor McPherson’s whiskey soaked Christmas yarn, (at Merrimack Repertory Theatre through Nov.8th) has all the eeriness of his award winning THE WIER and the cockeyed bravado of a boys’ night out…except that these Irish lads are in, playing high stakes poker.
Gordon Joseph Weiss is the chief reason to see THE SEAFARER. Weiss gives an expansive performance as Richard, the charmingly dissolute, blind host of an impromptu holiday hand of cards. The game’s outcome is especially important for Richard’s unlucky, younger brother, Sharkey, now his invalid brother’s keeper (masterfully portrayed by David Adkins). Wonderful, too, is Allyn Burrows as Sharkey’s former friend, having absconded with both Sharkey’s girl and his car. McPherson adds layer upon layer of hilarious detail to this boozy, boisterous cautionary tale.
Director Charles Towers gets fine dramatic work from the whole cast. The story manages to pack a nifty punch (despite some off and on again accents which jar the rhythm of the language). It’s a treat to see McPherson take a story “old as the hills” and make it fresh.