Review: The Edge, a devised play by Transport, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, until October 10
12:53 09 October 2015
Set in the near future, this compelling and creative production from Transport in association with The New Wolsey asks important questions of us.
It’s 2035 and mass migration is caused not only by war and poverty but also by global warming. Millions are displaced by rising sea levels and the destruction of coastlines. However, in 2015 our two main characters have just been born.
Tim Lewis and Balvinder Sopal tell the life stories of a man and a woman. They have no names and this is no romance, simply a mythic tale of human endeavour and spirit. One will travel from India and asks the question: “how does a fisherman’s son become a deportee?” Another will lose parents and a home due to rising water levels. Both will cross the English Channel, beating the odds to meet.
James Button’s design has echoes of a civilisation destroyed: a rubbish dump land –fill pile of grey slabs, books and boxes. The actors move, at times, like chess pieces around the space and the world seems a small place. This physical aspect of the production works and heightens the simple storytelling and language style.
At a running time of just over an hour, both actors have a sense of urgency and energy to their performances, however lines are not secure. The stories they tell are deeply human ones, extraordinary in places, but the third person narrative style of the script is over- used and prevents real emotional impact.
The powerful symbolism of water throughout connects the characters, making land borders seem absurd. But in Dover where our fisherman’s son washes up he instantly becomes a criminal. Terrifyingly, in 2035, it is imagined that is a criminal offence to help those in need.
The Edge seeks to grimly warn but to also remind us that the only certainty in life is that we will receive a great kindness too.