Raft, The Quaker Meeting House, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
The Group Lab
Jenna Panther (director), Emily Kitchens (writer), Matthew Ellis Murphy (producer).
Lisa Kitchens (Sister), Emily Kitchens (Sister), Paul Kite (P).
Running time

Birdsong and the sounds of the river accompany two sisters adrift from the modern world.

They have set out on a raft, now the centre of their universe, without clear plan or direction other than to escape the boredom of city life. They put their faith in the boat and derive comfort from the fact that the river is taking them.

The trappings of civilisation are not so easily cast off, as they discover litter even out here. Collecting it would be patriotic but when you are on a raft everything needs to come with you. While filled with wonder at their adventure and the land that they pass through they also feel corny and earnest, sad and weary.

The river, sometimes boring and often beautiful, sets their hearts aflutter in more ways than one as they have to face rapids. It also throws up a further challenge in the shape of P, a half-drowned man whom they haul to a safety he doesn’t desire. He finds himself falling, lost. Senses no truth in the world he turns his mind to the vastness of space and possibilities.

The river takes them, shakes them but they have their mantra of assuredness in the river and the vessel to keep them safe. They are heading South and home - not back home but to a future home.

When their plans seem to run aground and their pilgrimage course becomes uncertain they will need to question their dreams and whether to jump ship.

There is a little of the Bluegrass singer’s sparse style, echoing longing and loss, as captured by Appalachian writer Ron Rash in this dreamlike piece. A meandering meditation on life caught in swirls and eddies as the sisters ask whether it is enough, what the implications are and exhort P to try resist the profoundness of things.

The acting is sometimes a little over earnest, the characters sense of wide-eyed wonder too great and the staccato language moves from poetic to shrill.

Its an attractive piece with good sound design and movement but not everyone will appreciate its theatre of the absurd style.

Show Times: 17 to 29 (not 23, 24) August 2015 at 2.30 pm.

Ticket Prices: £7 (£5)

Suitability: PG