REVIEW: Joel Horwood’s casting in The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is outstanding.

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REVIEW: Joel Horwood’s casting in The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is outstanding.

It all starts with a suicide and culminates with a sacrifice. The theatrical version of Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy novel by Joel Horwood, however, is far from depressing. Instead, the vividness of the characters and director Katy Rudd’s superb staging make it an uplifting, awe-inspiring experience for adults young and old.

Instead, the vividness of the characters and director Katy Rudd’s superb staging make it an uplifting, awe-inspiring experience for adults young and old. Dad (Nicolas Tennant), a widower, does his best to raise his young son Boy (James Bamford) and daughter Sis (Grace Hogg-Robinson).

Money is scarce, and his most recent lodger committed suicide in a vehicle accident in the woods.

During a storm, a little boy walks into the woods and encounters Lettie Hempstock (Nia Towle), a peculiar young girl who brings him to the historic family farm owned by her mother (Siubhan Harrison) and grandmother (Penny Layden).

All three women appear to be from another era, if not another globe — the “Old World.” They are endowed with abilities.

When something enters the current world in human female form, it disrupts the status quo, posing a threat to Dad, Sis, and Boy – the only ones who know what she/it is.

It combines magical realism while keeping one foot in the actual world in a story about hope and despair, innocence and wonder.

It transitions well from text to stage through careful performances, special effects, and puppets that are all the more impressive because they are used rarely. It is embellished with allusions to Lewis Carroll, HP Lovecraft, and George Macdonald’s Phantastes.

It was a magical and moving evening.

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