On the Crest of a Wave, VAULT Festival

https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6151/6256944614_f60d68027b_b.jpg

Camilla Whitehill’s grandmother died when her dad was 10 years old. He never talked much about her, but Camilla is fascinated by this woman she never met. Inspired by familial memory and grief, Whitehill and five other theatre makers draw on their own histories to create a playful homage to the endurance of family stories. It’s a joyful experience with a retro seaside aesthetic and a big heart, though lacking in polish and a consistent throughline.

Whitehill’s dad is present through excerpts of a recorded interview that are often difficult to hear what with the acoustic challenges of the space. More effective is her conversational discussion about her grandmother Valerie. There’s music and spirited banter from the cast of four, with some transitions clearer than others. When the story abruptly shifts to that of a local beauty queen, it isn’t immediately clear that this is a totally different set of people. Valerie is the primary focus of the piece, and the other stories that make appearances aren’t given as much stage time, which causes a lack of balance and thematic consistency.

The cast’s charm and enthusiasm are undeniable, as is their commitment to sharing the stories of their ancestors. The appeal of the piece comes more from this and the need to share stories than its construction. But that’s not to say On the Crest of a Wave wouldn’t stand up to further development and streamlining the execution of its intention. It’s certainly one to watch.

On the Crest of a Wave runs through 19 February.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s