Box of Tricks Theatre Company
Box Of Tricks Theatre Company
National Studio Tour
If I was to throw myself beneath that tide… If I was to let the water take me, ’til the cold felt like heat, like love…”
Present day. Liverpool. All alone, an old man falls in a basement and loses consciousness.
World War Two. Norway. A young sailor with a heart full of hope, longing and courage falls in love.
Narvik tells the story of a Liverpudlian man and a Norwegian woman pulled together and torn apart by war as the events of one summer cause ripples across an ocean of time.
Fusing live folk music and new writing to create a patchwork of memory and dream, Narvik is a bold new play set during the Second World War that brings to life a powerful story of love, guilt, heroism and betrayal.
Katie Scott’s set design – a combination of clanking metal pipe-work and oily claustrophobia – suggests the confined bowels of a war-ship edging close to Davy Jones’ Locker. *****
When a ship is holed, the command goes out to batten down the hatches, though down below men are trapped in the rising water, pleading to be let out. Those men are heard tapping on the pipes that coil around Katie Scott’s pocket-size set. They turn the stage into a percussive instrument. The entire auditorium often seems to wheeze with noise. The soundscape sometimes merely tickles, sometimes arrests the audience’s attention. There are faint gurgles of water, echoes of movement through a hollow metal space, the buzz and tick of radio signals. Composers Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop thread music – spectral shanties on guitar and keyboard – through the evening. ****
The set, twisted from pipes and metal, means that the whole theatre is alive with a powerful percussive energy at all times – exactly as overwhelming as it needs to be to drive home the story.
In other hands six people plus a great metal structure on HOME’s studio stage may feel too much, but the versatile set was only cramped when it needed to be, believably representing both the bowels of a destroyer and the view over an expansive fjord.
The shifting tides of time are cleverly accommodated by Katie Scott’s compact design of interlocking pipes, around which actors and a three-strong band duck and weave. Water – Jim’s home and Else’s phobia – is a constant suggested presence, invisibly rushing around them.
Katie Scott’s set – a multi level structure of grey steel pipes and ladders neatly suggests the murky underworld in the belly of a vessel. It also invites dynamism and physical inventiveness. ****