The Seafarer

Review by Willard Manus

The booze and the blarney flow nonstop in THE SEAFARER, by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, who, along with Martin McDonagh, is considered to be the theatrical heir to Synge, O'Casey and Shaw, thanks to such well-regarded previous works as Poor Beast in the Rain, The Weir and The Lime Tree Bower. McPherson, however, comes a cropper with this one, a play whose whole first act offers little more than three men, Sharky, Richard and Ivan (Andrew Connolly, John Mahoney and Paul Vincent O'Connor, respectively) sitting around in a North Dublin dump drinking and shmoozing, mostly profanely. The drama finally gets going in Act II when the devil (or the angel of death, take your choice) shows up to play poker with "the lads." The suave Tom Irwin masterfully plays this character, Mr. Lockhart--lecturing on the nature of life and death, guilt and redemption, even as he's peeking at his cards and swilling poteen (Irish moonshine). The object of his visit is to claim the soul of "Sharkey" (Connolly). Also making an appearance at the poker table is Nicky (Matt Roth), a nebbish who is now "dating" Sharky's ex-wife. It's all very thin, uninvolving stuff, though McPherson's humor and the stellar actors in this all-male ensemble try hard to save the day. (Geffen Playhouse, 10886 LeConte Ave. 310-208-5454,