The Ocean At The End of the Lane  

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A theatre production which brings to life a world of imagination. Based on a book by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd this story explores the mystery and fantasy when the un-real world collides with reality. 

We see an older man visiting the area in which he grew up and encounters an old lady who remembers him as a boy, they start to reminisce. His memory is purposely jaded and we are transported back to when he was 12 and a time where he learnt about the Ocean at the end of the lane…

Mother has passed away and Dad (Trevor Fox) is doing his best bringing up two children, a lodger is in the house for additional income, however he kills himself in the family car due to owing people a lot of money due to gambling. This death sparks off a supernatural event where fantasy and reality for the Boy (Daniel Cornish) become intertwined. The Boy meets Lettie (Millie Hikasa), who lives on the farm down the lane, meets her mother Ginny (Kemi-Bo Jacobs) and grandmother Old Mrs Hempstock (Finty Williams), yet what they talk about and what they know is not of this world. Lettie takes him on a journey to her Ocean, but as he doesn’t follow her instructions there is a breach between worlds and they have to do what is necessary to rid the real world of the horror which has come through.

The adventure they go on is filled with danger, monsters and spirits that want to break through but Lettie is there using her energies to bind them back to the world they came from. 

Depicting the two worlds intertwining is creative and clever. Props are smoothly put into position almost without the audience noticing the scene change, it’s just there, happening. The scene where Ursula plays with the Boy’s mind is depicted with many doors on stage as she moves in and out each door but on different sides of the stage. We know how it’s done, but the timing was perfect can created the illusion just as it was supposed to.

The monstrous ‘flea’ was large and scary and moved in a way which gave you shivers. Ursula (Charlie Brooks) being torn apart was simple yet effective. Lettie and the Boy have a scene in the Ocean with the use of puppets and shimmering material which gave an incredible depiction of being deep under water. 

The show includes lots of imagination, fantasy, magic and how this is transported onto the stage was incredibly inventive. It’s a very difficult task to capture a writer’s imagination in an un-real world, however the whole team of production, creatives and the actors worked together in producing a very enjoyable performance. It was all encompassing and filled the stage with a feast for the eyes.

It’s a young adult story and a big story to fit into a two-hour show and I am not sure everyone in the audience were a fan of a fantasy theme, however the show was so good it has inspired me to read the book.

Photos  Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

This review appeared on Grapevine Live.


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