Saturday, May 05, 2018

The Ferryman

Old Beaumont friend John John as a boy while he and I were visiting Kew gardens recently, recommended "The Ferryman" ,  a play by Jez Butterworth. 

As the play is set in Ireland where with John, I had first met mrs maytrees  some 45 years ago, and only shortly after the time of our first meeting, I was intrigued, so booked seats for younger sister to join us  for her birthday celebration, at the Gielgud Theatre, to enjoy the play last Wednesday afternoon. 

The production commenced at 1:30pm and finished a only shortly before 5pm so involved a lengthy period of  it turned out, great interest and brilliant acting. 

I cannot better  The London Evening Standard review, which read:

Set in Northern Ireland in the early Eighties, it’s a complex family portrait, played out against the backdrop of the Troubles. At the outset we learn that the body of Seamus Carney, missing for ten years, has been located. Though his brother Quinn — an astonishingly focused Considine, brooding but also tender — is now a farmer, the discovery of Seamus's pickled corpse reconnects him to an ugly past he’d hoped to put behind him.
Quinn is a family man, and in Mendes’s richly textured production his farmhouse kitchen is a place teeming with vitality. As his clan comes together to gather the harvest, the mood is exuberant, but anxieties and resentments fester. One of their objects is rumpled English outcast Tom Kettle (John Hodgkinson, wrangling a live goose) whose presence in their midst is a sour reminder of political tensions. Others who are damaged in very different ways are Seamus’s wife Caitlin (a blazing Laura Donnelly) and Quinn’s wife Mary (Genevieve O’Reilly, a study in ashen fragility). Of the more mature characters, Bríd Brennan’s Aunt Maggie Faraway is especially memorable, mostly static yet capable of summoning up the past with ghostly eeriness. Meanwhile, among the younger generation, it’s newcomer Tom Glynn-Carney who stands out as the eldest of the visiting Corcoran brothers, a livewire who’s alarmingly susceptible to the lure of fanaticism.
The above review does not mention the opening of the play, which intrigued mrs maytrees who is  shortly with some children to attend a  live "Rolling Stones" concert, involving one of the teen-age children in the cast, playing some Rolling Stones hits loudly on his radio.
The many children in the cast including a tiny baby, played their roles brilliantly. Of course 'the troubles' featured as did a strong but also humanly  weak, Catholic priest; yet the whole show was excellent for the packed audience at the theatre, who showed their (our) appreciation with standing ovations at the finish.

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