Following last year’s exploration in Reykjavik, Shams theatre is back with a chiller thriller set on Thin Ice. It’s perhaps more conventional than the last outing, but it retains the trademark fragmented, multi-layered approach to storytelling.
On the surface it’s a tale of intrigue involving three scientists who find themselves in East Greenland in 1940, caught up in a weather war as the Allies seek to establish a base that will give them the upper hand in predicting meteorological conditions.
Digging a little deeper through a series of deftly handled flashbacks reveals not only a love-triangle back story but a tale of mistrust and rivalry. While Austrian glaciologist Daniel seeks constancy in the form of ice, anthropologist Richard pursues the shifting tales of avenging monsters told by the local Inuit shamans, and caught in the middle is meteorologist Laura, following a mission of her own.
Against this, all sorts of themes and debates are developed, from scientific scepticism and spiritual and mystical belief, to global warming, the relationship of disparate cultures and whether we can really be more than tourists in the wild arctic regions.
The action plays out on a corridor set, which allows projections on both ends and lends it an almost letterbox film quality. Performances are strong and skilful and pull the audience into the icy ambience. It’s a production that requires the viewer to engage with it to discern the references and paradoxes that swirl through it. In the end it feels a little like one of the wandering Greenland folk tales that leave scope for further development and thought.
Very cool theatre.
Show Times: Runs to 27 August 2012 (not 21); 11.45 am.
Ticket Prices: £9 (£8) – 16, 20, 22, 23, 27 August. £10 (£9) – other dates.