Pros: Absolutely beautiful and engaging script which captivates the audience and takes them along on the expedition with the characters.
Cons: The pace was irregular, quickening in parts that didn’t need to be quick and slowing down in others that should have been faster paced.
In preparation for its opening at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this coming August, Shackleton’s Stowaway previewed on the 14th July 2018 at Cervantes Theatre, London. The play tells the story of Shackleton, played by Carl Thompson, who alongside his men sails the Endurance on an epic exploration to cross the Antarctic. They face many trials along the way, including the stowaway of an 18 year old boy, played by Craig Poole. Throughout their journey we see the relationship progress between Shackleton and the stowaway as they face life or death situations.
Andy Dickinson’s script has to be the strongest part of this play. Split up between narration, monologues and dialogue it gave the audience a strong sense of place when describing the surroundings of the expedition. The language beautifully conveyed the fantasy and reality of the trip, and the monologues especially greatly showcased Shackleton’s dream of the beauty within the continent.
The writing is greatly complimented by the acting and direction. Poole as the Stowaway especially shone. His dynamic energy during the performance allowed the audience to really visualise the life he led on the Endurance. I was engaged every time he spoke and followed his journey eagerly. Amazing direction by Enrique Munoz conveyed themes of friendship and bravery successfully throughout by transforming the stowaway from an awkward, scared, young boy into a confident, brave man.
The tech elements of this show are few and far between yet really made a successful impact in telling the story. There is a very fine line I believe between naturalistic sound effects coming across too ‘try hard’ and being genuinely effective. I have to say, this worked! It was executed really well; at pivotal moments you could feel the cold and bitter winter air swirling around the stage. This also brings me onto the stunning violin sounds accompanied by projections of a map locating where the ship was next to go. For a one hour, one act show, it was a great representation of time passing and a soothing break between scenes.
I do believe there was room for improvement with the character of Shackleton. Thompson sometimes let the nerves get the better of him which caused the pace to become irregular in parts when his reaction to the stowaway’s lines would come too late. Thompson shone most with his opening monologue, engaging the intimate audience, but again credit goes to the amazing script.
With tickets ranging from £8-£10 it is definitely great value for money, next performing at theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh. For a 50 minute production, it manages to be informative and really sucks you into the story of the two men and the expedition. A definite asset to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!
Writer: Andy Dickinson
Director: Enrique Munoz
Producer: Andy Dickinson
Presented By: Stolen Elephant Theatre
Booking Until: 25 August 2018
Box Office: 0131 510 2384/0131 226 0000
Booking Link: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.edFringe.com