‘Remains a phenomenal piece of theatre’: THE FERRYMAN – West End

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

Gielgud Theatre, London – until 19 May 2018

Time is so, so relative in theatres isn’t it – the mere thought of a running time that exceeds three hours can send chills running down the spine. But sometimes it is a 70 minute show that can feel like a cruel eternity and in the arms of a brilliant play, you barely even notice the hours passing by, even with Edwardian-levels of leg-room available to you.

With just a couple of weeks left to catch The Ferryman in the West End and the chance to see Rosalie Craig in a non-musical role for once, the offer to return to the Gielgud was one I couldn’t refuse. And though it is the third time I’ve seen the show, it remains a phenomenal piece of theatre in which Jez Butterworth manages that not-inconsiderable feat of making time fly.

Review #1 and review #2 have covered much of what I think of the play, suffice to add that Craig and Owen McDonnell are both very good as the new leads, Caitlin and Quinn Carney, and nothing has been lost of the intimacy of the close-knit family feel that is so essential to Sam Mendes’ production.

What really struck me this time though was Butterworth’s exploration of radicalisation. Not just the way in which extremist viewpoints are filtered through family connections and passed down the generations, but how the simple existence of a ‘past’ is neverending fuel for a fire that few seem to want to put out.

It will be interesting to see how that message will be interpreted once the play opens on Broadway later this year, if it chimes louder with American audiences who are less close to the actual history of the play. Either way, I’d recommend making one last visit to Derry if you can.

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Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."
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Ian Foster on FacebookIan Foster on RssIan Foster on Twitter
Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."

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