The Seafarer at The Spring, Havant

REVIEW: Beauty and The Beast at Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham

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A murky, dishevelled house with alcohol-fuelled occupants is at the centre of Bench Theatre’s production of The Seafarer.

Conor McPherson’s plot focuses on Sharky, who comes home to look after his blind brother, Richard, at Christmas.

They settle down for a game of poker with some friends and a mysterious stranger, but things quickly turn nasty as the stranger claims Sharky owes him his soul.

Director Alice Corrigan shows her skills don’t just lie in acting (as last year’s Guide Awards Best Actress).

The set fits beautifully with the dark tale, and little touches are not forgotten.

Peter Woodward leads the show as Richard. It’s near on impossible to fault him.

Satanic undertones are captured well and David Penrose’s (Mr Lockhart) monologue is incredibly touching and well-played, as he tells Sharky what hell is.

Mark Wakeman’s comic timing, as Ivan, brings regular laughs from the audience – from tales of ghosts waiting in car parks for lifts, to falling flat on his face while trying to take off his socks. It’s classic slapstick and it gives a welcome lightness to the evening’s events.

Until Saturday.