Supernatural Plot Twists Enhance WEPG’s “The Seafarer”

Conor McPherson is known for his rough and tumble dialogue and shameless characters. In the West End Players Guild production of his “The Seafarer,” he doesn’t disappoint. Strong language and five bawdy men make this play “for mature audiences only,” but some surprising plot twists make it a worthwhile effort for most theatregoers.

The cast of West End Players Guild production of "The Seafarer."

Robert Ashton brings Richard to boisterous life as, being recently blinded, struggles to adapt and begins having thoughts of meeting his maker. He calls on his brother, Sharky to help him navigate the house that was left him by their parents and help with the daily things in life. Matt Hanify plays the enigmatic Sharky with a nice mixture of bravado and servitude. Waking up with them on Christmas Eve morning is Ivan- evidently a frequent houseguest. Charles Heuvelman plays him with a nervous, almost manic attitude that works well in the context of his character.

Enter John Reidy as Nicky, a full-of-himself dandy who is married to Sharky’s ex-wife, who brings tensions to the house and to the second act poker game that becomes more than just a friendly game. The reason for this turn of events in the game is Nicky’s friend, Mr. Lockheart- played with a menacing demeanor by Barry Hyatt. He’s a bit more than he seems as he confronts Sharky with some sins of his past and we soon learn that Mr. Lockheart transcends his mortal appearance.

Director Steve Callahan brings the whole business to life with some nifty staging in the small theatre space at WEPG. The only problem is his attempt to bring an Irish brogue to the five-man cast. With some inconsistencies and some downright break-downs in the accents, it is at times disconcerting. Add to that a few missed cues (something that is always a chance with live theatre), and you’ve got some unnecessary distractions. That being said, it’s still a nice effort and it’s good to see McPherson’s work on stage again.

Mark Wilson’s set design is also quite effective on the tiny stage and Colleen Heneghan’s costumes work well as do the lights of  Renee Sevier-Monsey and the often hilarious sound effects of director Callahan.

“The Seafarer” is a salty look at five men and their unusual way of spending Christmas Eve one blustery night north of Dublin. You can see it through January 15th at West End Players Guild. Visit them at http://www.westendplayers.org for more information.

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