To the Ocean
It is sad to say that I have become a cynic in my old age (late 20s in case anyone is asking). I did not always used to be like this, and deep inside I am still an idealist who believes in good people and joyous things. I enjoy performing and watching theatre because it often digs deep inside to recover these hidden ideals. 'To the Ocean' dug that little bit deeper, and I left smiling as I walked home.
The play is a (broken) family story taking inspiration from the mythical Selkie folk, seals who can shed their outer skin and take human form. It seems in many ways like a favourite kids book come to life on stage. The plot revolves around a potentially difficult issue, driven by young characters, but deals with it in a sweet, heightened way.
The play requires some focus. The performance space is a beautiful yurt, incongruously put up in the middle of a small lawn outside the Symposium Hall, so you are exposed to all the sounds Edinburgh in the afternoon. You could also argue that the plot is at times 'unrealistic', or that the characters are a bit simplisitc. But that would be entirely missing the point. You have to give yourself fully to this play from the minute that you enter. This is so much easier to achieve thanks to the dedicated cast who burst with optimism and energy as they tell their story.
The actors are aided by beautiful underscoring performed live by a one man band. I admit that I am always taken by the phrase 'contains lives music', while recognising that some people sigh at the words instead. However, the music is never intrusive, it simply adds to the overall style and feel that the company has tried to create.
I know that the earnestness and sweetness of the show could put some people off, but if you want to see something a little bit magical and very well crafted, I cannot recommend 'To the Ocean' to you enough. This is yet another example of the Fringe bringing an excellent theatre company (BoxedIn) to my attention. I cannot wait to go back and see their second show, a production of A Misdummer Night's Dream, at the same venue at 18:45.
I was a little unsure of what rating I would give them when I started writing. It made me smile so much that I think I have to give it a 'special' blue tit, but because of the family theme and way it made me feel, it is going to get a blue tit chick. (Does any of this make sense? Of course not - click here for my weird rating system that I am definitely not regretting implementing...)