• Amy Toledano

In My Lungs The Ocean Swells presented by No More Superheroes.

What Is It?

The debut show from theatre company No More Superheroes, this two hander stars Jack Brownridge-Kelly and Jenny Walser, directed by Tash Hyman and written by Natasha Kaeda.

What Is It About?

In My Lungs The Ocean Swells follows lifelong friends and lovers, Julie and Simon, as they grow up in their Cornish Coastal home. While Julie dreams of life beyond the confines of their remote, maritime home, Simon finds his passion in the family tradition of commercial fishing. As Julie makes the move to London to follow a career in the city, her and Simon’s relationship becomes strained as the British fish stocks collapse and the fishing industry rapidly declines. This hour long drama explores the macrocosm of the disconnect between urban and rural life whilst focusing on the microcosm of this couple’s struggles and achievements.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

The ocean holds a lot of significance in many human cultures. For an island nation like the UK, there is a particularly strong association with the sea. We see it in our folktales and our music, while our fishing industry has been a great source of wealth as well as a bone of contention. The debate around the control of our waters has been a hot topic lately, as has the sustainability of our fishing practices and the impact of plastics in our oceans. It is a powerful force to evoke in a play, but In My Lungs The Ocean Swells does so with emotional complexity and dramaturgical precision.

Jack Brownridge-Kelly and Jenny Walser portray the characters of Simon and Julie with nuanced charm. Their relationship is believable in its tenderness and teasing, though the strains on their relationship resist the usual cliches of blame being placed on one partner for pursuing their career. This is a refreshing look at a relationship that you can sense may be failing, but does not descend into dramatic bickering or sniping - this feels genuine and even more painful as these two people who clearly love one another have their hearts set on different ambitions.

The ocean itself is its own character in this show with Annie May Fletcher’s sound design evoking the huge and emotive presence of the sea. This haunting soundscape beautifully blends with the folk lore aspects of the narrative and heightens the tragedy and frightening force of the ocean in the show’s final act. Indeed, the design of this show proves the phrase ‘less is more’ to be especially true. Every object and piece of set in this show has a significance and a purpose, filling the play space with subtle yet clear symbolism. This is a show that creates both powerful visuals and emotional impacts.

Anything Else?

A beautifully directed piece of theatre with excellent performances from its two actors, bringing to it an almost effortless quality - a sure sign of a finely honed and crafted piece of theatre.

In My Lungs The Ocean Swells is playing in the Cavern, VAULT Festival until the 9th February 2020.

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