Irish Repertory Theatre is once again presenting a play by Conor McPherson, “The Seafarer.” As with its 2016 revival of McPherson’s “Shining City,” the star is Matthew Broderick. He has been doing some of his finest work in years at the theater.
The dark drama takes place on Christmas Eve in a coastal suburb in Ireland. James “Sharky” Harkin (Andy Murray) has returned home. He has recently ended his employment as a chauffeur and a romantic relationship with a woman.
Living at his home is his demanding older brother Richard (Colin McPhillamy), who had been blinded recently. Joining them are Nicky Giblin (Tim Ruddy) and Ivan Curry (Michael Mellamphy). A recent acquaintance of Nicky’s, the mysterious and devilish Mr. Lockhart (Matthew Broderick), also shows up.
The heavy drinking group play cards, an annual event for Christmas Eve. Because of Lockhart, this escalates into a contest for Sharkey’s soul. The devil wants his due.
Broderick is quietly menacing, while the others are equally convincing in their more extroverted performances. Charlie Corcoran’s set of the Harkin household is appropriately grungy.
The direction by Ciaran O’Reilly is exemplary, capturing the humor and darker side of McPherson’s unique vision.
“The Seafarer” is playing at Irish Repertory Theatre (132 W. 22nd St.; tickets: 212-727-2737 or go to IrishRep.org). The running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes (one intermission). The play is set to close on May 24.
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