West Belfast actor plays wide-boy in classic play

Seafarer so good for Tony

By Ciara Quinn

“I would have been attracted to any part written in this play, the writing is first class,” says West Belfast actor Tony Flynn who stars in  The Seafarer which is playing to packed houses at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre.

In the life-affirming production, which sees the devil drop by for a game of Christmas Eve poker, we are introduced to a group of hard-drinking brothers and their misfit friends who abandon their families to play cards and drink themselves into a stupor over the festive period.

Andersonstown’s Tony Flynn takes on the role of wide-boy Nicky, a man who has never grown up and has “shacked up” with the protagonist, James ‘Sharky’ Harkin and his wife and children – and even gone as far to have “borrowed” his car for good measure.

“Nicky is very much a magpie in this production, he’s a real wheeler dealer type of person, a scoundrel but he does have a good heart, even though his actions say otherwise,” said Tony. “Nicky is really a teenager who hasn’t grown up yet. You just have to look at him, from the way he dresses with his poker shades on – even though it’s pitch dark outside – tracksuit top and half-mast drainpipes. Nicky is one of those typical spides who thinks he is more craic than he actually is.”

Tony says he first saw The Seafarer when it was performed at the Abbey Theatre in 2007.

“I was delighted when Rachel O’Riordan offered me the part of Nicky. I’ve worked with her numerous times before. I know she has always wanted to direct this so it was a straight offer and I was delighted to get the chance to come to the Lyric to perform it.

“Conor McPherson when writing the play needed a way of introducing the character of Mr Lockhart, the human personification of the devil, into the play and this is where Nicky meets him in one of the bars. Mr Lockhart keeps buying the drinks for Nicky when it is his only intention to find Sharky and get him to fulfil a pact made years earlier. Nicky sees him as a mate and invites him back to Sharky’s house for cards where the stakes are upped considerably.

And Tony adds: “I think this play really makes people think, it makes people laugh. It’s very much a production whose ending has had people come up to us in the bar after a performance to talk it over. It’s very life-affirming.”

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