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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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As we know, all is not well in Broken Britain - which is why Ted (played by Adam El Hagar) has taken drastic action and moved to Sealand, an abandoned fort seven miles out at sea. Joined by his teenage son Alex (Ed Pinker) and another family, Ted wants to start anew and create his own utopian nation - but human nature seems to get in the way.

Written, directed and starring graduates of the East 15 Acting School, Sealand is an intimate look at family and relationship dynamics put under the intense pressure of a claustrophobic environment. And the most intimate portrayal of all is that of Sarah, the abrasive teenager played with great gusto by Jessica Stone.

Sarah, whose painful vulnerability counters her inner-city swagger, is dramatic napalm, shrieking, stripping and sobbing her way aboard the confines of her new home. The best scenes are invariably the hilarious and excruciating adolescent exchanges between Sarah and Alex, which see Sarah provoking and flirting with Ted's ever-tentative teenage son.

The dialogue has enough of the 'human touch' for it to be engaging, despite the fact that the older characters are underwritten. In fact, it's the quirky relationships and domestic details that shine in the script, rather than the 'one man's obsession with utopia' storyline which feels conceptually underdeveloped.

The only perceivable motivations for Ted's idealistic fervour come in the form of a dead wife and a reference to "the riots and cuts" back home. The desire for a perfect society is one that has gripped humanity since our very existence - an exploration of that deep-seated yearning would have been fascinating. However, it's sadly absent from discussion.

But despite a few obvious thematic holes, Sealand still offers some wonderful moments of character insight, an amusingly contemporary script and a lot of heart. A likeable production.

- Stephanie Soh


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