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The Watery Journey Of Nereus Pike (Bristol)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Greek myths are always a good starting point for a production; the stories are so rich with vivid imagery and full of ambiguous metaphors - which can be built upon or modernised - that there are endless creative possibilities for theatre makers to do what they want with these ancient tales. This collaboration between Laura Mugridge, Tom Adams and Katy Schutte takes the story of Nereus (‘The Old Man of the Sea’) merely as a starting point and weaves a story involving lighthouses, synchronised workouts to Van Halen and an under-water rave (I don’t think any of these feature in the original text but I could be wrong).

This is deliberately a kid’s show designed for adults and the audience are an integral part of the show and encouraged to be as silly as possible. The show is mainly narrated by Laura Mugridge but there are also interjections from her musical collaborator Tom Adams along the way. The show transposes the story to a lighthouse where Mariana and Nereus live seemingly unsatisfied lives with Mariana longing for the freedom of the open air and Nereus drawn to the sea. The show is packed with clever and playful ideas and with frequent out of character asides plus as I said plenty of audience involvement throughout. What lets the production down is the narrative through-line which is at times hard to keep up with and also there is perhaps too much made of small details which bog down and interrupt the story’s flow.

It’s hard not to like a show though with two such genuinely likable performers and also with their determination to make their audience have a good time. This is a show that is maybe wasted on adults and would work best as with an audience of unself-conscious children. However if the wet Summer weather is proving just too much and you’re willing to let your inner child out then this definitely is the show for you.


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