To the Ocean at the Greenhouse Theatre
To the Ocean is a fun, modern retelling of the Scottish selkie myth. Mixing live music and theatre, it’s an enjoyable ride that features good humour, a variety of music – including one sea shanty – and a story that is simple and sweet.
The plot centres on Grace who, on her 16th birthday, sets out to seek her long-lost mother. While she adores her father, Cameron, he’s always been curiously quiet about what happened to her mother and avoids ever bringing it up in conversation; but when Grace discovers a box with a photo of her mother, she takes the plunge with Tom, a friend from school. It’s a surprisingly far-reaching narrative, tackling themes such as love, belonging and finding oneself.
For the most part, the story is told using narration and dialogue. Each of the four actors portray multiple characters, and they even take it in turns to play the narrator. But it’s a smooth experience that is consistently easy to follow, and, with a well-paced script, it never loses its flow in the roughly 80-minute runtime. An original score – also sung and performed by the four actors – does a great job adding to the general flair.
As a performance at the Greenhouse Theatre, To the Ocean is a low-budget production that wins its audiences over with a close, intimate feel, rather than flashy effects, and it’s a proof of concept: each moment feels lively and well-placed. Knowing that everything that is used by the company is recycled in some form or another, and will go on to be recycled yet again, is a bonus that other venues would do well to imitate.
To the Ocean succeeds in proving that theatre need not be extravagant or expensive. With smart storytelling in an intimate setting and eco-friendly practices, what’s there not to like? It’s traditional in its execution and methods, but forward-thinking and urgent in its subtle focus on sustainability. A charming experience, throughout.
Photo: Bailey Fear
To the Ocean is at the Greenhouse Theatre from 19th June until 14th July 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.