Review: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Review: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, adapted from the novel by Neil Gaiman, made its debut at the National Theatre London in 2019 and won a prestigious Olivier Award in 2020 after transferring to the West End. Now, this enchanting play is on a UK tour, and we were lucky enough to see this at the Liverpool Empire last night.

Set between 1983 and the present day, the story follows an unnamed character as he returns to his childhood area for a funeral. While there, he revisits forgotten memories from his past, now portrayed by the character ‘Boy’ (Keir Ogilvy), who recounts his magical adventure with a girl named ‘Lettie’. Together, they attempt to ‘bind’ a monster from invading their world with terrible consequences.

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The cast is enchanting, with Keir Ogilvy’s portrayal of ‘Boy’ being so believable that the audience almost forgets it is an adult playing a young boy. The tale of Ocean follows Boy, still reeling from his mother’s death. He lives with his struggling but supportive father, Dad (Trevor Fox), and his sassy sister, Sis (Laurie Ogden). He soon befriends the strange but smart Lettie (played by Millie Hikasa, who steals every scene she’s in).

There are brilliant performances from most of the cast, but Charlie Brooks delivers a flawless performance as the play’s antagonist, Ursula/Skarthatch, showcasing her versatility as an actress known for her iconic portrayal of Janine Butcher in the soap opera EastEnders.

Fly Davis’ set design immediately captivates audiences as they enter the theatre. The stage is adorned with branches and twigs that represent the lane, a constant throughout the play. Though minimalist, the set provides the actors with ample space to convey the magic surrounding the ocean. Ensemble actors wear all black and manoeuvre items with intricate movements, ‘coming out of the darkness’ to portray levitation and other magical elements with impressive believability.

The lighting is used with exceptional skill, and explores many realms with harsh, striking colour palettes, while softer blue and white lighting transports audiences to an underwater world where puppetry conveys the message of friendship and happiness. Jamie Harrison’s illusions, magic, and special effects add stunning enhancements to the already immersive experience.

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is wonderful for tweens and upwards, although as a Neil Gaiman fan it’s true to say I loved it more than my twelve year old daughter. If you love a well written production, we would highly recommend this production of The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.

The Ocean At the End Of The Lane continues its UK tour:

Liverpool Empire

Until 6 May 2023

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Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

9 — 20 May 2023

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The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

23 — 27 May 2023

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Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

30 May — 3 June 2023

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Nottingham Theatre Royal

6 — 17 June 2023

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New Theatre Oxford

20 — 24 June 2023

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Milton Keynes Theatre

27 June — 1 July 2023

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Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

4 — 8 July 2023

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Newcastle Theatre Royal

11 — 22 July 2023

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Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

25 — 29 July 2023

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Cliffs Pavilion, Southend

8 — 12 August 2023

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Bristol Hippodrome

15 — 19 August 2023

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His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

22 — 26 August 2023

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King’s Theatre, Glasgow

29 August — 2 September 2023

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Norwich Theatre Royal

5 — 9 September 2023

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Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent

12 — 16 September 2023

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Hall for Cornwall, Truro

19 — 23 September 2023

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Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

26 — 30 September 2023

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The Lowry, Salford

4 — 7 October 2023

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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