With "Dublin Carol" in the Upstairs Theatre and "The Seafarer" Downstairs, the Steppenwolf is not only hosting a mini Conor McPherson festival, it's also playing home to the best pair of holiday shows in the city. Granted, they're both riddled with booze and lives unsuccessfully lived. However, they both end with a powerful sense of hope, which is few other holiday shows can claim. I saw "The Seafarer" on Broadway and thought it featured one of the most tight-knit ensembles I had ever seen. Although Steppenwolf's rendition does not quite attain the same level of ensemble spark and Irish authenticity as its Broadway counterpart, it does feature an unforgettable performance by Francis Guinan as a lost character literally playing poker for his soul.
Rating: ***1/2 (out of *****)