Belfast Telegraph

Review: Legacy of legendary playwright George Farquhar writ large

By Mr Farquhar at Waterside Theatre, Derry

By Fionnuala O’Kane

Set in the bitingly cold winter of 1706, the ailing playwright George Farquhar suffers a double whammy of suffocating, stifling, all-consuming writer's block interspersed with wracking bouts of deadly tuberculosis.

The play explores the life and legacy of the world-renowned Londonderry playwright George Farquhar, one of the most enduring Irish literary figures.

Detailing the tragic final six weeks of his life at the tender age of 29, Farquhar furiously pens what becomes his masterpiece, The Beaux Stratagem, one of the greatest comedies of manners.

Starring Derry-born Farquhar fanatic Stephen Bradley, the actor immerses himself in the role of Farquhar, conveying each and every emotion of frustration, isolation and destitution to comic effect, due in no small part to the witty dialogue.

Dublin playwright Lindsay Sedgwick portrays each scene to perfection, leaving the audience with a poignant understanding of the agonies which tormented Farquhar in his last days.

Beset with anguish, Farquhar is banished from his marital home, and instructed to return only when he has written a play and made money to support his family.

Reminiscing over his life through conversations with his landlady Mistress Kempe, Farquhar flirts with taboo subjects for his time.

This small production has a big impact on the audience.

Fionnuala O'Kane

Belfast Telegraph

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