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Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane at Norwich Theatre Royal: National Theatre play featuring former EastEnders star is compelling, complicated rollercoaster





The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Theatre Royal, Norwich

Based on an award-winning book by Neil Gaiman, this is a compelling, complicated piece from the National Theatre which takes a look at some of life’s big issues.

But don’t imagine it is too heavy and hard work. Rather it is delivered with passion and precision by an incredibly talented and hard-working cast, headed up by an unnamed Boy, played by Keir Ogilvy.

The cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
The cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Millie Hikasa (Lettie), Keir Ogilvy (Boy) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Millie Hikasa (Lettie), Keir Ogilvy (Boy) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

It is an energetic show, with some great choreographed set pieces, helped along by terrific staging and a genuine sense of menace.

We first meet Boy as an adult, returning to his childhood home for a funeral, and that sets off a journey back in time as we meet his family and his farming neighbours, the Hempstocks.

There are many themes - the power of one’s memories, the importance of childhood friends, family relationships, the joy of reading and that age-old mystery of what lies beneath or on the other side of life.

Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Millie Hikasa (Lettie) and the cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Millie Hikasa (Lettie) and the cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Domonic Ramsden, Keir Oglivy (Boy), Aimee McGolderick and Millie Hikasa (Lettie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Domonic Ramsden, Keir Oglivy (Boy), Aimee McGolderick and Millie Hikasa (Lettie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

There are many layers to peel away, and it is the sort of production that you have to put your own feelings and experiences into.

But as we follow Boy and his childhood friend Lettie (Millie Hikasa), it’s a real rollercoaster as that age-old battle of good versus evil takes place.

And do look out for former EastEnder Charlie Brooks in her perfect role as a vampy lodger called Ursula - it’s a joy!

Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) and Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Ginnie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) and Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Ginnie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Aimee McGolderick (cover Sis), Charlie Brooks (Ursula), Trevor Fox (Dad) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Aimee McGolderick (cover Sis), Charlie Brooks (Ursula), Trevor Fox (Dad) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The play continues until Saturday. Visit www.norwichtheatre.org

Review by Sarah Hardy



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