This is the story of an unsinkable ship; known by everyone and told in so many ways since that memorable day of 14 April 1912. However, this time it’s a little bit different. Instead of the conventional history of the Titanic’s first cruise, in this production we discover what happened after its unfortunate accident (or maybe it wasn’t even an accident?). Recollections of that fateful night are still strong here, focussing our attention on the catastrophe and related events, but the wider performance creates a very mysterious portrayal of a story we might otherwise consider well-known to us. The source of the information is a young lady; a fiancée but never a wife, who offers an interesting perspective.
Each of the characters has been assigned their own very distinct personality and history, which together build up the background story, one dot connecting to the next one. Together they combine to render a beautiful understanding of the enigmatic situations which we witness. The main character, Emma, is played impressively by Genevieve Gaunt. Her performance is highly moving; full of emotion, with convincing transitions from tears of sadness to real anger and desperation. We see so many different things in her character, each so carefully structured and crafted that it’s almost impossible to tell what’s real. Watching her acting, I felt not that I was part of her story as a spectator in the theatre, but in some unique world of memory.
The other character to mention is Swanson played by Lizzy McInnerny. Not only is her manner of expressing emotions impressive, but her voice work and mannerisms are fantastic, especially her remarkable and memorable accent.
In terms of set design and the technical side of the production, the creative team does a fine job. Everything is carefully planned and structured for the small Park90 studio. I thought that the contstrained space would be limiting for the actors, and that it might be hard to keep up with the changes between scenes, but it really wasn’t a problem. The lighting was also helpful in creating a mystique and a mysterious atmosphere of memories. I really enjoyed the attention to detail in the costume design, carefully analysing every single piece of clothing, the accessories and hairstyles. They were timeless, but at the same time still appropriate to the twentieth century.
This is an intriguing, visually interesting play, with some great performances from the small cast. If you like a twentieth century aesthetic and an investigative storyline you should definitely give it a try.
Written by Ron Hutchinson
Produced by Clive Brill
Directed by Eoin O’Callagham
Set design by Beth Colley
Costume design by Neil Gordon
Ghosts of Titanic is at The Park Theatre until 2 April. Further information and tickets via the below link.