Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Cast of Jez Butterworth's THE FERRYMAN
Photo by Joan Marcus

Jez Butterworth is an English playwright who is now the toast of Broadway, courtesy of his majestically sweeping play The Ferryman, which opened this week to a wave of well-deserved critical accolades. If you go to, you will find summaries and links to full reviews, including mine.  

The play, a sprawling family saga set against "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland in 1981, is brilliantly written and directed (by Sam Mendes). It is gloriously performed by a cast of 22, every one of whom is absolutely top-notch and all of whom are vital to the story. 
Production Photo by Joan Marcus

There are three generations represented, including a real baby -- not one of those pretend babies you usually see portrayed by a bundle of cloth. There's also are a live rabbit and goose in the mix.   

The play takes place in a  farmhouse in the country. It is the home of a large extended family that is getting ready for the harvest and for the great harvest feast.  

The Ferryman is a feast itself, filled with humor, joy, and tenderness, folk tales, family stories, dancing, singing, and music - ranging from traditional Irish tunes to revolutionary songs to The Rolling Stones. 

Production Photo by Joan Marcus
Given the context of the violence that is taking place in Northern Ireland, do know that the outside world must and does intrude. 

You may have heard that it is a long show.  And, indeed, it does run three hours and 15 minutes. But there is no fat on these bones, and every moment is filled to the brim with Butterworth's magnificent storytelling. Truly, this is the most thrilling play I've seen in a very long time. Come Tony Awards time, The Ferryman will be the one to beat!


Feel free to share this blog with your friends, and to offer up your own theater stories by posting a comment. I also invite you to check out the website Show-Score.Com, where you will find capsule reviews of current plays from Yours Truly and many other New York critics.

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