Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes and critically acclaimed playwright Jez Butterworth have delivered one of the most highly praised productions of the year in The Ferryman. Reviewers are calling it “shattering”, “stunning”, an “instant classic” and a “marvel” not to be missed.
One of the most hotly anticipated new plays of 2017, The Ferryman, which is supported by Bruno Wang Productions, has been described as “a rich, serious, deeply involving play about the shadows of the past and the power of silent love” by the Guardian.
Starring Paddy Considine (Tyrannosaur, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher) as patriarch Quinn Carney, the play describes a day in the life of his family in rural Derry as they prepare for the harvest. But this is Northern Ireland in 1981, at the height of the Troubles, with hunger strikes on the news daily. And while the Carneys are preoccupied by their own familial concerns, they cannot be immured from reality for long.
The Royal Court production is a “three-hour feast”, says the Daily Mail, with 22 characters on show, ranging in age from their eighties to a nine-month-old baby. At the heart of the plot is a covert love-triangle; with Considine’s farmer and father Quinn pining for his sister-in-law Caitlin while his wife Mary lies sick in bed. The family drama is exacerbated when Quinn’s Republican past catches up with him unexpectedly.
Tickets for the Sloane Square run of The Ferryman, the long-awaited follow-up to Jerusalem, Butterworth’s smash of 2009, sold out in one day last November (a theatre record) and the production has now transferred to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.