City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

We Live by the Sea, Pleasance Courtyard, Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 14 August 2016

We Live By The Sea - Patch of Blue Theatre.jpg
Show details
Patch of Blue in association with Greenwich Theatre.
Running time: 
Alex Howarth (director / producer), Wovoka Gentle (composers), Will Monks (lighting and video designer) Amelia Wall (videographer).
Alex Brain (Katy), Lizzie Grace (Paul Williams), Lloyd Bagley (Ryan), Alex Simonet (Hannah), Casey Jay Andrews, Tom Harford and Robert Hughes (Wovoka Gentle musicians).

Katy is going to tell us a story. Stories are important to Katy, as are rules.

Fifteen-year-old Katy lives with her elder sister Hannah in a sleepy coastal town by the sea. A sea that waves to Katy, drawing her to it, forming a metaphor for her emotions and a home for some of her tales of bravery.

Katy is on the autistic spectrum and finds it difficult to connect to people, but with stories, well that’s when she does some of her best and bravest thinking. She stands before us, smiling and swaying with eyes closed, as she describes some of the things she likes. One of these is Paul Williams, an imaginary dog (a somewhat unlikely Jack Russell / St. Bernard cross), with a few ticks of the physical rather than the insect kind. Together they share a secret language and plan their days.

Routine is important too; from teeth brushing to when to eat Marmite to what colour of clothes are worn on which day. Purple is a brave colour, worn by the knights of her tales as they take on the noisy dragons. Loud noises upset her, but the ear protectors she wears make her stand out from the other pupils, who abuse her for being different. Main stream schooling puts other demands on her that are difficult to meet – like the forthcoming address she needs to give in class.

With their mum and dad gone Hannah is left to provide support, but when new boy in town Ryan arrives there are new friendships to be made. Troubled by events from his past he finds Katy’s honesty just what he needs. And Katy likes him, he likes her stories and he’s even friends with Paul Williams. Even the biggest dragons can be fought if you have someone fighting with you.

What they will need is a different kind of thinking.

Live music and video projections form a backdrop to the utterly credible central character. The other parts are less well rounded. Ryan’s back story and the ease with which he is accepted feels somewhat under developed.

A unique, inventive piece of theatre that is touching, heart-warming and enlightening.

Show Times: 3 – 29 (not 15) August 2016 at 4.30pm.

Tickets: £6 to £9.

Suitability: 12+