Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A wonderful play about our struggles for redemption, Conor McPherson's narrative is only aided by the fact that the world of his play is submerged in one alcoholic vice and raised by a poker addiction. It's also helped by excellent casting, including the talented Conleth Hill, who plays Ivan as a slovenly yet lovable simp, the sort of man who puzzles things out by rolling around his tongue or nonchalantly offering a thumbs up and the splendid Jim Norton as Richard Harkin, the blind but hardly invalid elder brother of our adrift hero, Sharky (David Morse). Morse, a stocky guy, grounds the show with the polite distaste that he mastered on House, along with a more intimidating rage that is all his own (and all the more surprising for it). As these three friends carouse in their own unique blends of blindness, they are joined by the careless young Nicky (Sean Mahon), a man oblivious to the problems with his lifestyle, and the devilish (drop the -ish) Mr. Lockhart (Ciaran Hinds), who is comically portrayed here as an arrogant loser, save for those rare moments when he gets the object of his desire -- Sharky -- alone, at which point the lights start flickering and all hell seems liable to break loose. As the stakes are raised, we see the limitations of these men -- Sharky's real violence, Ivan's reckless past, Richard's stubborn boozing -- but more importantly, learn that together, they just might be able to steer this ship.
[Also blogged by: Patrick]