Friday, May 6, 2011

The Seafarer

'The College Players' are a legendary group in Limerick and although they have had an eleven year hiatus, they still maintain a reputation for quality work. Having seen their latest production 'The Seafarer' I don't think that their good reputation is in any danger.

It's a tight, fun show and yeah,- it is a little jarring to see Limerick folk put on North-Dublin accents and talk about drinking in places like Graingers and The Beachcomer, the Elphin and the Green Dolphin, but none of that really bothered me because I was too busy being entertained.

Entertained like a good thing I was.

The real gold that I responded to in the writing was the ease with which MrMcPherson recreates the particular idiosyncratic vernacular of Nortdubbelin and makes it tell us so much about his characters economically, realistically and with a great gag or seven thrown in at the same time This was what really made the show for me, script-wise.

As for this particular production: the set was solidly squalid,( or squalidly solid ) and the technicals functioned mostly very well*.
* the lighting was a little confusing in parts, and the 'special' change from one world/another I felt could do with a re-design.

The performance was well-rehearsed and tight and tense and light and dark where it needed to be, and the actors worked really well in tandem with each other. I've worked with three of them so I kinda knew that Zeb/Nicky and Brian/Sharkey were gonna be good, the new actors to me were Dave/Mr Lockheart and Padhraic/Dick.I must say Padhraic/Dick although playin' a man who lives in darkness,had no problem lighting up the stage and enjoying himself in this demanding central part, but the biggest surprise to me was John/Ivan, I've seen John in things before but I've never seen him shine like he did last night in the role of Ivan-the-terrible-man.

Excellent, Jaysus! nice wan John.

The actors all go together like a perfect salad, the only ingredient I'd add would be...
meself,—' Now seriously lads, the only play put together in this town in the history of Limerick that requires a full cast of male working-class dubs and nobody even gives me a call? Not even a readin'? If you don't like me you can say it to me face y'know, there's no need to go through all this elaborate play-staging just to make me feel unwanted!

My personal issues with The College Players Human Resource Department aside: 'The Seafarer' is a brilliant production; it is without doubt the best thing that I've seen in the Belltable this year, and the best big production that I've seen in a long time. I was told to expect particularly great things from The College Players,

I was not disappointed.

Seafarer at the Belltable presented by The college Players. Cast: Brian McNamara, Padhraic Hastings, John Finn, Zeb Moore and Dave Griffin. Director Michael Finneran.

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