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The Seafarer (Irish Repertory Theatre)
Chelsea
79

The Seafarer (Irish Repertory Theatre) NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(40 Reviews)
Positive
90%
Mixed
10%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Entertaining, Funny

About the Show

Irish Repertory Theatre's revival of this 2008 Tony-nominated play stars Matthew Broderick as Mr. Lockhart, a mysterious visitor to Dublin whose arrival turns a game of poker into a perilous gamble for one player's soul.

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Member Reviews (40)

78
Disappointing, Great writing, Slow, Well acted, Edgy

See it if McPherson's dark, nifty Irish parable of a literal 'Hell on Earth' in a decrepit house w/ a bunch of drunk Irish bros Great ensemble & set

Don't see it if Star Broderick doesn't quite muster the needed menace as 'Mr. Lockhart' Merely competent not malevolent O' Reilly's direction a little staid

73
Disappointing, Slow, Confusing, Great acting

See it if you like small, intimate productions, or are eager to see Matthew Broderick on stage.

Don't see it if you have a hard time understanding thick accents or prefer some speed to your story. This one takes nearly an entire act before it starts.

Critic Reviews (25)

April 18th, 2018

"O'Reilly's production is perhaps a bit too scrupulously realistic...But if you're willing to forgive the absence of miracles, this 'Seafarer' offers a lucid and straightforward reading of a play that seems to grow only richer with increased acquaintance...McPherson's dialogue continually coaxes poetry out of mundane conversation. And the cast here delivers such speech confidently and entertainingly...What's lacking is the sense of a surprising grace at work within these garrulous drunkards."
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April 18th, 2018

"Vivid performances, believable boozing and McPherson's gorgeous dialogue. But there's a hole just under the waterline, a single error that makes the play founder. In an otherwise strong company, visiting star Broderick is both too obvious to ignore and too wrong to right...Without a serious antagonist, the piece lapses into atmosphere...The play can't function without the Devil, and he's just not there: not in the broad strokes, not in the details."
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April 18th, 2018

"A solid, entertaining revival...'The Seafarer' slowly unfolds its murkier depths under a surface of deceptively casual banter. It's not a play where much 'happens'. Its characters' primary actions are talking and drinking...As Mr. Lockhart himself, Broderick is an interesting choice, compelling if not always viscerally effective...But Broderick still does right by the character...O'Reilly's production is a generous, well-told rendition of one chapter in that immortal gambler's story."
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April 18th, 2018

"O'Reilly demonstrates a clear affinity for the playwright with this authentic-feeling and well-acted production. The ensemble delivers fully lived-in performances, mining their characters' drunken bombast and foolishness for all its comic worth...The problem, sad to say, is Broderick...Without a true sense of danger emanating from the character, the play's dramatic urgency gets lost. It's hard to be intimidated by a poker-playing Devil who's so obviously bluffing."
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April 19th, 2018

"This being an Irish play, you can probably guess without too much difficulty exactly what the debt is and who has come to collect it, and it is the highest of tributes to Mr. McPherson’s professional skill that he still contrives to successfully set off a firecracker of surprise at evening’s end...Five performances that are as deeply rooted in felt life as it’s possible to be...No company in America supplies it more regularly and consistently...What they do is what great theater should be."
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April 19th, 2018

"I'm sorry to say that Broderick's Mr. Lockhart doesn't have the faintest hint of brimstone...McPherson's writing is so powerful that at times the actor can't help making an impact...As a result, the focus shifts to Richard and the comedy of his appalling personal habits and nonstop drinking...Make no mistake: Ciarán O'Reilly has mounted a highly respectable production that is likely to please McPherson fans."
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April 18th, 2018

"Astutely directed by O'Reilly with a stellar cast of seasoned actors, this 'Seafarer,' which will amuse you and chasten you in equal measure...Broderick is giving a taught, understated performance as Mr. Lockhart... It's nice to see Broderick back in top form despite the observation his star presence throws off the balance of the ensemble-but only slightly... You may not think you want to see an Irish tale of alcoholism, loss and redemption, but you'd be wrong."
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April 18th, 2018

"A spectator may start thinking that abutting the realism with the surreal is awkward. I definitely have that impression. Somehow the juxtaposition keeps chipping away at complete enjoyment. None of that compromises what director O’Reilly has unfolding...Some of the best ensemble acting carrying on these days is hopping on the Irish Repertory stage. It’s the kind of acting that defies acting and just is."
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April 18th, 2018

"It is a dark and entertaining tale that looks sordid in its messy circumstances of five middle-aged men getting sozzled on whiskey, beer and moonshine while playing poker in a squalid parlor. Yet it proves to be, finally, a story of amazing grace forged by the redemptive power of fraternal love...Ciaran O’Reilly, the director, achieves a unified sense of ensemble playing from the actors."
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April 19th, 2018

"Mr. McPherson here offers a realistic premise with fantastical twists that perfectly join together. McPherson’s earthy dialogue is an exquisite combination of exposition and character details that all propel the plot with an abundance mordant Irish wit...The accomplished physical staging includes a lot funny business, fight scenes and special effects. Mr. O’Reilly has fully realized the author’s vison in a visually compelling fashion."
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April 27th, 2018

"Just about every aspect of the production hits a thrilling high note, from the magnificent ensemble acting to O'Reilly's terrifically smart directing to the overall staging. McPherson is well-served by a dream team whose combined talent and energy have made this one truly not to be missed...The weak link in the piece is Broderick, who’s miscast and is thus simply not up to the part. He lends star power to the work...but the role of Lockhart requires more than this."
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April 19th, 2018

"The script is sharp and witty, strengths that shine brightly under Ciarán O'Reilly's direction. Each of the four ordinary Dubliners feels like a genuine individual rather than a mouthpiece for the playwright's own voice...'The Seafarer' operates on both metaphoric and literal planes, leaving a satisfying whole ripe with complexity. And here, truly, the devil is in the detail."
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April 23rd, 2018

"Matthew Broderick is an unexpected, but brilliant bit of casting for the role of The Devil...The entire cast worked together like an ensemble that has been together for years. Andy Murray was perfect as the tightly wound, glowering and monosyllabic Sharky...The director Ciarán O’Reilly keeps the pace moving and the tension building until the surprise ending brings a Christmas miracle."
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May 1st, 2018

"Sadly, this production has some small leaks in it...The cast solidly makes an attempt to stay afloat, but mainly because of the not very rich or menacing portrayal of the mysterious Mr. Lockhart, a man of refined appearance but dark underlying temperament, played with a somewhat too tight control by the miscast Broderick the boat keeps taking on water no matter how much is scooped out by the others...Directed with a shaky eye for blocking and a lack of lyrical essence."
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April 19th, 2018

"The Irish Rep's vibrant production teems with life despite the consistent drag of its marquee name...McPherson writes his devil as a sharply dressed, arresting figure, oozing charisma...But Broderick gives as a satanic wallflower: low volume, low energy, low impact...Luckily O'Reilly and the rest of his team pick up the slack, allowing McPherson's script to buzz to life...Not even a flagging movie star can prevent O'Reilly and his cast from a compelling exploration of those mysteries."
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April 20th, 2018

"O'Reilly unravels the plot ever so slowly with precision enabling the actors to fully develop a character and allowing the audience to revel in the rich and often poetic dialogue...It is always a pleasure to see Broderick take the stage...but he has not taken full advantage of the menacing and malicious traits that usually accompany this persona. This diminishes the tension and the ability to realize the full potential of the suspenseful script."
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May 7th, 2018

"It was difficult to discern a single false note in Charlie Corcoran's solid-looking, photorealistic, two-level design of a shabby, junk-cluttered home…False notes, while not entirely absent, are rare in this exceptionally well-staged…and acted production… McPherson heightens his vibrant, if talky, play just enough to sustain credibility, making Mr. Lockhart's powers seem all the more potent…The feeling of inertia Broderick exudes deprives the character of any aura of enigmatic danger."
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April 18th, 2018

"Broderick delivers one of the finest performances of his career...Directed by O'Reilly with his usual unerring ability to shape an evening among sodden Irishmen into a superlative entertainment...Broderick imbues his character with a soft-spoken geniality...Broderick's dapper suaveness, and his naturally endearing stage presence, make his performance all the more spine-chilling. What better disguise would the Devil choose than to slip into the skin of a man with the face of a cherub?"
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April 20th, 2018

"The excellent actors make the most of McPherson's humor while we gradually learn about the pasts of the characters...To Broderick's credit he keeps his portrayal low key, making his dramatic pronouncement effective when he raises his voice like a thunderclap...O'Reilly keeps the banter intense, the pace fluid and gives the actors full rein to make the most of their characterizations...Isn't a very deep play, but it sure is an arresting one, especially as staged in this revival."
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April 22nd, 2018

"Words can be intriguing, riveting, or like Act I of this play, just a barrage. All those strong Irish accents take a great deal of audience concentration...besides drunken chatter and character sketch, nothing happens...Act II improves with its axis now spinning around covert Satan. Except for parenthetic exchanges between Sharkey and Lockhart, dialogue, however, is inconsequential...O’Reilly handles manifesting intoxication well. Characters seem just enough out of control."
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April 19th, 2018

"A well-appointed revival of this fable, directed by Ciaran O’Reilly and starring a glaringly miscast Matthew Broderick alongside a finely nuanced troupe of mostly Irish and English actors...On stage, this production takes a long time to find its stride. While the non-Mephistophelian acting is richly engrossing, and the dialogue and setting so natural the experience feels almost voyeuristic, the simple plot falls victim to a slow boil and unfortunate casting decision."
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April 18th, 2018

"Directed with seasonal exuberance and also quiet foreboding...Broderick plays the villain with a delicate coldness...At moments his quiet, slightly muffled speech ill lends itself to his necessary explanations of who he is and what is going on. But you don’t doubt for a moment the damage his character could do...The size of the Irish Rep means you very much feel as if you are there, with the wind howling and the tense drama rising—with natural and engaging performances from each actor."
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April 18th, 2018

"A disturbingly dark and devilish comedy...Delivers the mordant laughs, tragic pathos, and the possibility of hope and redemption...McPherson defines each of his flawed characters with a distinctive personality...Their speech is realistic, their jargon recognizably Irish, their very human characterizations range from thoroughly unlikeable to laughable, infuriating to heartrending to unexpectedly hopeful...'The Seafarer' is a sardonic celebration of the joy of being alive."
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April 19th, 2018

"In the able hands of O'Reilly and this excellent cast, we thrill to the suspense...Broderick portrays Lockhart with steely, understated menace and ironic poignance...Mesmerizes when least expected...O'Reilly and the cast are spot-on in solidifying the contrasts and ironies...Aided by the able skills of O'Reilly, a sterling cast, and a talented design team, the themes and overall message of 'The Seafarer' shine in the fullness of glory in this production"
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April 22nd, 2018

"O'Reilly leads this ensemble through this really solid production. He deftly keeps them moving through questions of faith, being responsible for your actions, and what happens when you have to endure the hard knocks of life...The weakest part of the production was Broderick's performance as Lockhart. While he played an unassuming, odd-man-out quite well, he lacked the menace that should be radiating off a devil-in-disguise...The ensemble is a really well-acted machine."
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