THE SELKIE BRIDE
by Karen Torley, Howard Gayton, Rebekah Wild, Jo Syz, Anthony Best.
Little Angel Theatre 14 Dagmar Passage N1 2DN To 27 February 2011.
11am 20, 23, 24, 26, 27 Feb.
2pm 20, 23-27 Feb.
5pm 25 Feb.
Baby Friendly performance 27 Feb 11am.
Runs 1hr 10min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7226 1787.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 18 February.
Love and loss where the sea meets the land in fine piece for young audiences.
In a sense, Wild Theatre’s visit is a homecoming, for The Selkie Bride was originally a Little Angel creation. And a fine piece it is, based on the seal-wife legend; of a seal shedding her skin on land to bathe in a full-moon, being found and loved by a fisherman and livng as his wife until, years later, the call of the sea proves too strong.
Love, loss, the pull of attraction and the call of home; played-out in the shoreline linking land and sea. It’s a big theme for 4-10s. But it needs no rationalising; the depth of the story and the austere elegance of this performance can resonate with young people’s experiences and motions.
It does, though, demand considerable concentration, at least until the interval. Tiny shadow-puppet fish swim against the sound of pebbles washed by the tide. A fishing-boat chug-chugs into view. Then a fisherman tells of his ancestor, who loved the selkie bride.
With this cross-species romance it’s entirely apt to have a human actor and puppet seal – her discovery, laying on a rock, is a beautiful moment. And there’s a moving element – not just physically – as the set of wooden boxes spreads over the stage to create the fisherman’s home.
It’s there, after the interval, the mood changes with a highly comical sequence as the selkie dances along top edges of furniture, throwing such unfamiliar things as clothes around. For the piece reflects both the sense of mystery and the daily comedy of existence.
And the laughter prepares for the quietly elegiac, melancholy feel of the final section, as it becomes clear to the husband that something instinctive, after years of happy marriage skipped over in a moment, is finally drawing his lady from the sea back to her ancestral home.
With performances well-judged to connect with the age range, and lead imaginations through the story, The Selkie Bride handles both the seriousness and beauty of its situation while telling the story, and respecting the resonances of discovery, desire, happiness and loss which are already part of young people’s experience of the world.
Performers/Tour Directors: Anthony Best, Rebekah Wild.
Designer: Lyndie Wright.