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BrumHour saw The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the invite of The Alexandra.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/brumhour
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Finty Williams who plays Old Mrs Hempstock in The Ocean at the End of the Lane talks about her role in this touring production.
Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane at The Alexandra
⭐⭐⭐⭐”An atmospheric production which transported me to another world”
Directed by Katy Rudd, adapted by Joel Horwood based on the book by Neil Gaiman
A soon-to-be teenage boy (Keir Ogilvy) discovers the body of the lodger, that has been staying with his family, in their stolen car. He’s sent to a nearby farm until the police have dealt with the situation and he hangs out with Lettie (Millie Hikasa), her mother Ginnie (Kemi-Bo Jacobs) and her grandmother Old Mrs Hempstock (Finty Williams). Some time after a new lodger (Charlie Brookes) comes to stay with the boy and his family. But the boy is suspicious of her arrival and sets out to prove her to be a fake.
Set largely in the 1980s this is a fantasy story with some very real themes of greed, loss, friendship and how memories shape us, being explored.
The set itself is a thicket lining both sides of the stage leading to an arch made out of thicket at the rear. Set accessories are placed with precision by black-clad performers throughout to add contemporary dance and movement to the story, and they almost act like ghosts reacting to the narrative at different points in the plot.
There are some really strong performances here and Keir Ogilvy is on stage throughout most of the two hours and fifteen minutes of the story. His youthful persona help cover that he is older than his character and the audience responded warmly to his light delivery. Charlie Brookes is really excellent as Ursula, acting like a wicked stepmother moving into a family unit and the are some genuinely scary moments from her performance. Finty Williams is wonderful as the mysterious Old Mrs Hempstock.
The soundscape features electronic synth and moments of metal which pull the audience further into its fantasy realm and its the moments of quiet that reminded me that this is live theatre rather than a film.
This is an atmospheric production which transported me to another world from the comfort of my seat. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is at The Alexandra until 27th May 2023. Discover what is coming up at The Alexandra and book tickets using BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is currently on tour until 7th October 2023. Find out more here: nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane
The stalls (ground floor) of The Alexandra offers a step free entrance to the theatre from the street on Station Street and normally this opens 30 minutes before the start of a performance. Yesterday this was really helpful to my plus one who was using sticks to join me for the performance and Tracey who was managing that entrance was excellent.