(5 / 5)
London is well known for its Theatre Pubs. A wonderful concept, in the heart of boroughs of the city, there are little spaces where stories unfold, and below in the bar, people meet from all walks of life.
Invited to The Hope Theatre, this small and punky pub collates theatre goers and the locals in one amazing area. Heading upstairs, there is an instant change. A hustle and bustle of conversations drift away and the sound of sea gulls and shanties fill the small room. A strong smell of fish and chips fills the room as we sit like sardines next to one another in a dilapidated seaside bar. A green and blue tint on the stage, the whole room is painted and kitted out to involve you in the scene that begins to unfold.
The story sees 3 dysfunctional siblings after a tragic past and an even more tragic present. The play aims to look a life and death and does this with no fear of the audience sensitivity – just how theatre should be. The cliff is slowly breaking away with natural erosion, and the small towns past in the form of its grave yard is in danger of falling into the waters below and being lost forever. Enlisted to help, the brothers of this trio make the coffins and the other digs up the bodies – all three constructing silly and unordinary funerals in their never used bar.
The writing of this play is fantastic – it is full of emotion but also just as full with comedy. When you are told that this is a play about life and death, perhaps your mind immediately thinks it will be a negative emotional roller-coaster; not for the faint hearted. And it is, and it isn’t. We feel for the characters in their time of need, their frustration but also laugh at their oddball characters, their weird and unusual relationships and their even more bizarre situation.
To have such a mountain of content playing in such a small area is fantastic. The actors pin point their different characters so well. There’s a hint of a League of Gentleman to the production where it is funny but also so strange that you feel a little anxious as to whether something terrifying made suddenly be thrown in. And without giving anything away, it does just that. Finding yourself laughing but also being slightly shocked is a funny feeling but a wonderful one and replicating that with over 30 people is a triumph.
Sea Life must be one of my favourite shows so far in 2016. It appeals to everyone and is extremely British in its comical storyline and production. As a critic, perhaps you should find minor faults, but I cannot say there is a fault with this play. It has everything you need and that just a bit more.