My first experience of a play that wasn’t either a pantomime or a musical was Conor McPherson’s black comedy “The Seafarer” in the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. Having no previous theatre experiences to compare it to I was in the dark as to what to expect.
As the lights dimmed the audience and I got our first look at the magnificent set.
Being a former Art student I was impressed with the light behind the windows which dimmed and brightened accordingly to show the time of day, the lino’s layered over each other which reflected the poverty of the occupants and the ironically placed pictures of drink brands surrounding the Sacred Heart picture which personified the owners habits. As the play is set in a small house in Dublin on Christmas Eve this set was perfect down to every minute detail and added to the authenticity of the play.
Then, from under a pile of coats, amid a torrent of swearing (perhaps not suitable for younger viewers!) emerged ‘Richard’ (perfectly portrayed by Ciaran McIntyre) followed by ‘Sharky running down the rickety staircase I was sure would fall apart. Sharky (played excellently by Louis Dempsey), a recovering alcoholi,c has been recently released from his job for reasons unknown but alluded to- is the brother of the cantankerous old drunk Richard who is also partially blind. This band of rogues is completed by drinking comrade Ivan (Sean O’Callaghan), who is heading in the same direction as Richard and helps him with menial tasks such as attempting to get to the toilet, with hilarious results.
Throughout the play these characters set up a card game with Nicky (Tony Flynn) – Sharky’s better dressed love rival – and a mysterious stranger Mr Lockhart (Benny Young), with his distinctive accent and eerie presence.
The group play a final game of raised stakes- especially for Sharky.
Although I wouldn’t usually go to see a play like this, I would urge any teenager to go see it. The play was very exciting, witty and interesting and, I thoroughly enjoyed it!