Theatre – Land & Sea – Brink Productions – Queen’s Theatre – 4K

Sometimes theatre is not linear, it’s not clear cut. It’s confusing and surreal and beautiful. Brink Productions’ latest offering, Land & Sea, from writer Nicki Bloom, is this type of show. In the old Queen’s Theatre, a dreamscape has been created by director Chris Drummond and his team.  Presented in the round, the stage is initially viewed from behind a screen of fabric, making it feel like you are watching the characters through a fog. The action takes place across times, across countries, across worlds. We are provided with short glimpses into each of these worlds. The content of these vignettes is widely varied, generally strange and always emotionally charged.

There is a man (Rory Walker), a woman (Jacqy Phillips), a girl (Danielle Catanzariti) and a boy (Thomas Conroy); while their characters shift from scene to scene and their names change slightly, they always remain essentially the same. How they relate to each other is not always clear; at times even they do not know – are they siblings, parents, friends, acquaintances, lovers, all of the above? In some way, many ways, they are connected, coming together in fractured glimpses, as the worlds link through the ether. The performances of the four actors are intense, captivating and moving. They are an accomplished ensemble who respond well to one another and bring to life the poetic beauty inherent in Bloom’s text.

As each scene morphs into the next, the set (Wendy Todd) and lighting (Geoff Cobham) cleverly adapt to create a different space and feeling. Tying the scenes together, and combining the segmented snippets into a whole experience, is the music. From the opening haunted notes, the songs roll around you like an enveloping blanket. Whether it is the instrumental soundtrack created live on stage by Music Director Hilary Kleinig, or the verses performed by the actors in each scene, it is appropriate, enchanting and exquisite.

The whole performance could be likened to a song. While you might not understand every line of the lyrics, the melody is entrancing and it’s the overall feeling that is important, that touches your soul. Of course, not all people have the same taste in music and, likewise, not everyone will enjoy this show. However, those who can appreciate theatre as an experience rather than just an exercise in storytelling will reap the rewards on offer from this production.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

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