Review: The Edge of The Sea The Dark of the Sky by Suzanne Hawkes

Steve Roche as George Crabbe in the new play The Edge of the Sea, The Dark of the Sky by Suzanne Haw

Steve Roche as George Crabbe in the new play The Edge of the Sea, The Dark of the Sky by Suzanne Hawkes. - Credit: Archant

Intense and complex, The Edge of The Sea The Dark of the Sky is a significant departure from the usual comedic-but-informative style of Suzanne Hawkes.

The Edge of The Sea The Dark of the Sky

St Mary’s Hall, Walton.

By Suzanne Hawkes

Intense and complex, The Edge of The Sea The Dark of the Sky is a significant departure from the usual comedic-but-informative style of Suzanne Hawkes.


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Her latest offering focuses on the lives of composer Benjamin Britten and poet George Crabbe.

Exploring the similarities between the two men – aside from their links to the Suffolk coast - through the story of Peter Grimes and the allegory of a prisoner who may or may not be guilty, the play requires concentration and dedication, particularly in the first half before the thrust of the piece becomes clearer.

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Concentrating on four quite troubled characters, the play is serious throughout and, though not devoid of humour, perhaps needs a little more comedic release.

Nevertheless, The Edge of The Sea The Dark of the Sky raises some thought provoking and uncomfortable questions about the modern day obsession with paedophilia, the phenomenon of trial by media, the false accusation of teachers of sexual abuse, and the role of religion in answering some of these dilemmas.

Given his well-known infatuation for a succession of adolescent boys how would Benjamin Britten be judged if he were alive today? How would a community today deal with a known homosexual who sought out the company and affection of teenage boys?

Crabbe, portrayed through a series of monologues, comes across as a fairly unlikeable character who is haunted by his domineering father and who struggles to find his way. Nonetheless he tries hard.

Using the music of Britten and footage of the sea at Aldeburgh, this play has an atmospheric quality and is ambitious in its execution and scope.

Full of interesting and some clever ideas, The Edge of The Sea The Dark of the Sky is a multi-layered and powerful piece that touches on issues we sometimes would rather ignore.

The Edge of The Sea The Dark of the Sky will be performed at the New Wolsey Studio from June 11-13.

JAMES MARSTON

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