Narvik - Production photo 2 (0259). Photo by Alex Mead, Decoy Media

REVIEW | Narvik | UK Tour

Capturing the stark imagery of World War 2, Narvik is an enigmatic piece of theatre about love and loss. Touching deeply on the emotions through the use of poetic language, it is an excellent display of storytelling.

Home MCR is the perfect setting for Box Of Tricks’ tour of Narvik. Set in a studio theatre, the intimate setting heightens the intensity of the emotions. Jim Callaghan, a ninety-year-old Liverpudlian collapses to the ground, consumed by the tragic memories of his time in the Navy. As part of the Navy that sailed to liberate the Norwegian port of Narvik, he is a man who holds a lot of pain and anguish.

Jim falls in love with Else, a beguiling young girl from Oslo. Whilst their love is short, it is wholesome, and he falls desperately for her. As he sets sail, they exchange letters – her endearing words keeping his spirits high. Joe Shipman’s performance as Jim is compelling as his commitment to the role is remarkable. Distinctively displaying the depth of his suffering through a series of monologues, emotionally giving his all through his delivery.

This is also reflected in Jim’s relationships on stage. Skillfully directed by Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder, she captures the tenderness of his relationships with both Else (Nina Yndis) and fellow Navy sailor Kenny (Lucas Smith.) The rich dialogue is potent and boasts vast research into the complexity of the emotions felt by the sailors during the wartime.

We are given a gripping insight into Jim’s pain, and his struggles to come to terms with his position. The characterisation in the play is exemplary, Joe Shipman ends the piece tiresome and weary, after expressing a significant spiral of emotions. Similarly, Lucas’ portrayal of Kenny shows effortless progression, as he escalates from harmless humour to torment.

Creating a dark ambience in the play, the score is completely engaging. Using acoustic instruments, the fragmented music is wholly atmospheric, amplifying the agonising memories deep inside Jim’s mind. Throughout the play, the audience are divulged into the powerful storytelling and the music brings light and shade, balancing the emotions of the piece. Building pace, the consistent rhythm of warlike sounds evoke both Jim and the audiences’ emotions.

The sounds intensify, and the tension elevates to a harrowing final scene, where we are given a glimpse into Else’s pain, as she fears hopelessly for her life.

Narvik is a beautifully crafted piece of theatre. Set to a mesmeric collection of music, the band create a haunting sound that echoes the dialogue’s poignancy effectively.

On at HOME mcr until Saturday the 4th of Feb, tickets can be found here.

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