The Ferryman is modern playwriting at its finest. Even better? The acting is stellar, with zero weak links in a cast of 20+ actors. Throw in brave and transportive direction that leaves hundreds of unsuspecting audience members straight-up stunned every single night and you’ve got a recipe for a theatrical homerun. Even in a Broadway season with what feels like SO many new plays, The Ferryman is already the frontrunner for the Tony Award for Best Play. It’s that good!
The story centers around a rural Irish family in the 1980s as they deal with the IRA and its brutal leadership. Playwright Jez Butterworth weaves a nuanced and rich drama around this extended family. The play is, quite simply, a triumphant piece of literary genius that will be studied in playwriting classes for decades.
Photos: Joan Marcus
Director Sam Mendes fills the piece with so many theatrical surprises (often delightful, sometimes macabre) that you’ll have a hard time digesting everything in one sitting. You can almost smell the whiskey in the room as you spend 3+ hours with the Carneys of County Armagh of Northern Ireland.
Special shoutout to Justin Edwards, who will definitely catch the attention of the Tony Awards nominating committee for his heartbreaking performance as a farmhand who is often the conduit for the the aforementioned theatrical surprises. There’s a scene involving his character that is just so, so, so special to watch. It’s extremely rare to see one so perfectly acted, written, and directed. And, omg, those last 5 minutes…you’re not prepared!
The Ferryman is a theatrical feast, a rich harvest for the eyes, ears, and soul. See it, see it, see it.
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