After a critically acclaimed run in London, where it won three Olivier Awards, Jez Butterworth’s ("Jerusalem") new Northern Irish drama makes its Broadway debut. Directed by Sam Mendes ("Cabaret"). More…
Northern Ireland, 1981. The Carney farmhouse is a hive of activity with preparations for the annual harvest. A day of hard work on the land and a traditional night of feasting and celebrations lie ahead. But this year they will be interrupted by a visitor.
"The best play of the century thus far, setting a high mark to match...Thrillingly, enthrallingly breathtaking. You emerge onto 45th Street stunned, as if you’ve been off in an altogether different world. Because you have...To give proper credit to the large cast is impractical; just about everyone is superb...Most impressive, though, is the text. Butterworth goes on at length, but with never a line or word that doesn’t contribute to the whole...A new, instant, and monumental classic." Full Review
"A rollicking, moving, enveloping masterpiece, an emphatic herald of the strength and power of original playwriting...Do whatever you can to see it; much-loved relations, prepare to be sold. Rarely is theater so beautifully written, brilliantly acted and directed, and impressively mounted...A feast of dramatic forms and shapes...So full of textured, watchable characters telling stories of modern times and times of yore, that one leaves the play wishing to watch hours more of it." Full Review
"Butterworth’s script is rich and varied...never slackening in pace. For such grim subject matter, it’s a play packed full of humour thanks to the playwright’s deft portrait of this enthralling clan of three-dimensional characters. Sam Mendes’ production is flawless, giving everyone room to breathe, yet exploding with a wild and joyous energy when the Carneys decide to let down their hair...Butterworth’s new work can lay claim to being one of the great plays of the 21st century." Full Review
“Carney was played with detailed nuance by Considine as he held a seriously fierce ensemble together while his life unfolded along with his very large extended family...The cliffhanger the audience is left with makes the already astonishing show worth it...From acting to sets, to sound, to lighting to a superb script, and of course the master direction of Mendes, I have no doubt it will repeatedly be recognized in the coming years as one of the great literary works of the century.” Full Review
"Slowly secrets emerge, and in its length of three plus hours, the audience is enticed by the lusty, hard-drinking family...Choreography, lighting, and sound design play large parts in heightening the submerged passions and sudden drama of Jez Butterworth's memorable work. Crime, loss, and violence are unveiled secrets with this family burdened with memories of the bloody Irish rebellion, guilt, demands for justice, and an explosive redemption ties up with ubiquitous humanity." Full Review
"This brilliant production...This is not so much a play as it is a communal aria. The writing is choral. The characters move in and out like wild folk dancers slipping in and out of the light. Each of the performances is crafted to perfection, and Sam Mendes direction insures that everyone has their spotlight and their glowing place by the hearth in rotation...Butterworth knits characters into characters, then into stories...then into worlds that are larger than the stage that holds them." Full Review
"Jez Butterworth's 'The Ferryman' is not a play. It is an experience, a rare experience whose aftermath will linger for days, if not weeks, in the minds of those who see it. Butterworth takes the audience into the heart of a loving family in a story that veers off into ghastly violence. He questions if it will ever end, but the title, itself, a reference to Charon who, in Greek mythology, ferries the dead across the River Styx to Hades, hints that deaths will continue." Full Review
“May be Butterworth's most ambitious work to date, and it is, to my mind, the first that instantly looks like a masterpiece. Time will tell if that judgment sticks, but, for now, one can enjoy a drama that, in its breadth, canny construction, and sleight-of-hand storytelling towers over everything else currently on Broadway...In Sam Mendes' production -- masterfully orchestrating an ensemble of 21, plus a baby and a live rabbit -- character after character leaves an indelible mark." Full Review
“'The Ferryman,' directed by Sam Mendes, is essential theatre-going…Butterworth makes the play's three hours and 15 minutes fly as black comedy mixes with darker tragedy, familial bonds clash with unrequited desires, and music, dance, confessional sanctity, and brutality intrude into a mashup of politics, poetry, profanity, and prophecy…There are, of course, contrived and overdone elements…Regardless, even people with colds hold back their coughs…’The Ferryman’ is theater at its best.” Full Review
"A generosity of substance and spirit rarely seen on the stage anymore...Directed with sweeping passion and meticulous care by Sam Mendes...This is theater as charged and cluttered and expansive as life itself. And the three and a quarter hours and 21 parts required to tell its story barely seem long enough to contain all it has to give us...By the end of this magnificent drama, Butterworth has connected the contradictions with a skill that takes the breath away." Full Review
“This is storytelling at its most intricate and expansive. There isn’t a moment that should be sliced away, nor a visual you’d want to miss. It’s a delicate creation...’The Ferryman’ has so many levels...each enhancing the other like flavors in a Jameson Irish whiskey, blending aromatically for all to savor...As powerful as anything you have seen in years...All of the cast and design crew is perfection, literally filling the stage with authenticity and dimension that can’t be ignored.” Full Review
"The breathtakingly good, devastating drama by Jez Butterworth that instantly kicks the Broadway season into high gear...It is most deeply a beautifully realized portrait of an extended Irish family living, and loving, through the long aftermath of a tragedy. The play is almost as exuberantly funny as it is powerfully theatrical, and its marvelous cast infuses the play with such life-affirming light...'The Ferryman' explores with a theatrical vitality and depth as painful as it is unforgettab... Full Review
"The whole thrilling production seems alive, as few Broadway shows do, with the clutter and scope of reality...'The Ferryman' never drags, in part because Butterworth continually shifts and expands the play’s focus...At once a romance, a thriller and a multigenrational family drama, 'The Ferryman' is also more than those things...A seismic experience at the theater...You sense the rumbles and you feel the shaking as you wait for this magnificent and harrowing play to crack open." Full Review
“So compelling that its three-plus hours absolutely flew by. The seamless blend of the personal with the political, the comic with the dramatic, the leisurely storytelling with the sudden shocks give it almost Shakespearean proportions...Butterworth makes almost every character a vivid, memorable presence...The playwright never hesitates to pause for a good tale, a dance or a song. The mostly British cast is so universally strong...Mendes never lets our attention lag.” Full Review
"Butterworth's play is certainly epic and obviously sprawling, hypnotizing us over the course of three acts. But those words really only skim the surface of this undeniably thrilling theatrical experience, so here are some better ones: 'compelling,' 'heartbreaking,' and just 'bloody good'...Cunningly directed by Sam Mendes as a thriller disguised as a melodrama, 'The Ferryman' creates an uncommonly specific world in staggering detail...The best play running on Broadway." Full Review
"A production that embraces comedy, drama, and melodrama in equal measure...It is richly imagined, smartly directed by Sam Mendes, and smashingly performed by a cast of 22 adults, teenagers, children, and one infant...It is all so incredibly Dickensian, yet all so true-to-life...Butterworth has outdone himself here. A brilliant wordsmith...This is an ensemble work in every sense of the word...An absolutely sensational theatrical experience." Full Review
"Admittedly, the prospect of sitting for three hours and 20 minutes (with one intermission and one brief pause) can sound daunting. But odds are you will be so involved in Butterworth's gripping family and political drama, you'll never once check your watch, which is cannily set during the height of the Northern Irish hunger strikes in 1981. Yet as brilliant as what's on the page - and I believe the less you know going in the better - it's what on the stage that really makes the difference." Full Review
"A crackling thriller woven into the vibrant canvas of a character-driven portrait of big-family...A work almost bursting with joy and celebration, with dance and song exploding out of fierce cultural identity, and with rambunctious humor and eccentricity...Mendes and Butterworth inject a chill into seemingly lighthearted moments, steadily ratcheting up the suspense until a closing scene that leaves you shocked and breathless...This is rich, full-throated theater not to be missed." Full Review
"Amazingly, it surpassed my expectations...That’s a lot of plot and a lot of characters but Butterworth...weaves it altogether in thrillingly satisfying fashion. In fact the play serves as a master class in theatrical storytelling. Butterworth is superb with language...He’s equally adept with plotting. Not a word in this nearly three-and-a-half-hour play is wasted...His brilliant script is brought to life by an equally brilliant cast...I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a theater ... Full Review
“Butterworth's richly stocked play is a gorgeous sprawling yarn that encompasses the entire spectrum of human existence...May seem long, but...the story is so engrossing, the characters so engaging, and the suspense so foreboding, you'll be left wanting more...Each member of this splendid ensemble delivers finely crafted performances...'The Ferryman' stands out as a classic all on its own!” Full Review
"Three hours and 15 minutes have never flown by as quickly in a theatre as they do at 'The Ferryman,' nor felt more ecstatic and full...This is the rare kind of play that manages to successfully capture the totality of human existence through the lens of a single event, or culmination of events..Ecstatic and richly thrillingly...‘The Ferryman’ is a titanic dramatic achievement, and a must-see event of the season. In short: a masterpiece without present peer on Broadway.” Full Review
"Jez Butterworth’s masterpiece 'The Ferryman,' superbly directed by Sam Mendes, has transferred. This smashing production confronts important themes about politics and violence for our times, for all times...Beautifully staged with the clutter of fun and bounty of children’s drawings, the production convincing shows us a convivial, lively family...Mendes has shepherded the actors to terrific performances and created a potent, masterful production that must not be missed. " Full Review
"This beautifully written tragedy strikes gold on every level. It reminds us of theater’s power to show us who we are – and who we can, and cannot, be...The play doesn’t take sides. Its sympathies lie with the human beings who take part...Butterworth is weaving a crowded tapestry with room for all strains of human nature...Mendes’ sharp-edged but big-hearted direction aided by a superb creative team leads 'The Ferryman' to the pinnacle of the Broadway season." Full Review
“'The Ferryman’ is a staggering achievement, everything a Broadway play should be and more...Mendes superbly navigates the play’s many complexities, making three hours and fifteen minutes virtually float by...An ensemble piece, not dependent on any individual performances, although a baby and a goose stand out. That said, it is a treat to see English actor Considine make his stage debut as Quinn...Butterworth delivered what is currently the best play on Broadway.” Full Review
"'The Ferryman' is a searing social document...A riveting work of art...Butterworth weaves an enthralling tapestry of melodrama, wryness, and suspense...Butterworth and Mendes have masterminded 'The Ferryman' for maximum wallop, and the actors, to a person, are brilliant executors...One of the most ferociously rewarding climaxes of my playgoing experience. That sensation, of a tension released by consummate storytelling, is what a theater lover lives for." Full Review
See it if Just see it! This play grabs you by the throat and won’t let go for over 3 hours when it slams you against a wall. This play is epic.
Don't see it if You dislike beautiful but intense plays.
See it if you want a beautifully written/acted piece of theatre. You will be on the edge of your seat throughout. The story is compelling-See it!
Don't see it if you have difficulty with Irish accents. Or, you can't sit for 3 hours-15 minutes.
Also Brian D'Arcy James is not just a musical performer-he can ACT!
See it if you value great writing, directing, acting, staging, set design. literally breathtaking. a reminder that great drama doesn't need gimmicks.
Don't see it if you want flashy modern electronic bells & whistles, otherworldly settings, quick cut dialogue. this is and is about the real stuff of life.
See it if You enjoy totally immersive drama with a story that enfolds in an entertaining and absorbing way. The time flies!
Don't see it if You cannot sit for 3 plus hours. You want an upbeat performance of easy entertainment.
See it if You love pure theater, a well-told story, exquisite dialogue, absorbing drama, a deep dive into difficult questions
Don't see it if You don't like straight drama, you need the plot to unfold very quickly, you need a happy ending to the story
Also The best new play I have seen in a decade
See it if You go to theater to experience staged drama in person and live in front of you. This is a classic theatre focused on a reckoning.
Don't see it if Your knee jerk answer when someone asks you “how’d you like the show?” Is: “it was long.” That’s the measure of a hot dog, not a play.
See it if you want to see an epic drama that is destined to become a classic. Superb acting. The 3+ hours running time flies by ever so quickly!
Don't see it if you can's sit for a long period of time. You have no interest in The Troubles in Ireland.
See it if If you enjoy finely crafted plays with excellent acting and great attention to detail
Don't see it if If you do not enjoy longer plays
Also This is an excellent play with an outstanding cast. Very absorbing
See it if This is a mesmerizing play. It evolve slowly, in real time, gradually revealing this serious issues at its core
Don't see it if This is a very long play. You need to be able to listen to highly accented English for well over three hours.
See it if you want the best play this season! Brilliant writing, acting and staging. Irish storytelling at its best.
Don't see it if You can't sit still for three hours plus. The time actually goes by in a flash. I could have sat through a few hours more.
See it if you want to see probably THE BEST piece of theater this season! I'll admit when I saw the 3hr 15 min run time I did do an eye-roll. see more
Don't see it if You want a non cerebral experience.
See it if you love theatre. This may be one of the greatest modern plays of all time.
Don't see it if you are not too keen on watching plays with lengthy dialogues and storytelling with thick foreign accents.
See it if you revel in exquisite performances in a play layered with artfully told stories, which in turn are layered with emotional twists and turns.
Don't see it if you have joined the ranks of those who refuse to sit through a long play.
See it if you want a great night of theater in NYC. I am definitely a musical person, BUT this is one of the best things I've seen in a while! See it
Don't see it if violence & language are a turn off for you. There's a lot of cursing from the cast, including the children & violence is referenced a lot.
See it if you want to see the best play of the new century. The play is epic. It should not be missed. This play will be remembered for a lifetime.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy longer works like O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.
See it if This is storytelling at its best. Jez Butterworth is a genius at his craft. The whole ensemble is pitch perfect and three hours fly by.
Don't see it if You don't like cerebral theater or want to sit for something epic.
See it if You want to make sure to see the Tony nominated plays this season. Great acting, writing, and it doesn't feel like it is a 3 hour play.
Don't see it if You don't appreciate great theatre. Can't sit still for a 3 hour play.
See it if You want a 3-hour drama that feels like 40 minutes.
Don't see it if You just don’t like classic drama. Actually, you should see it even then, because it will change your mind.
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