The Ocean at The End of The Lane tells the story of Alex, a man who returns home for his father’s funeral and looks back on his childhood.
At the age of 11 he loses his mother to unnamed causes and his father struggles to keep the family together. Then on his twelfth birthday he meets Lettie and her magical family.
He and Lettie unleash a malevolent spirit that takes up residence in his house.
The trauma and realities of loss and moving on are increasingly present themes. Tension builds throughout leading to a slightly terrifying—and hugely gripping—climax.
It’s a fairy tale but there is little in the way of happiness. Instead there’s a bittersweet feeling that moving on rarely means contentment. But the play is also a story of imagination and discovery.
As well as being hooked on the story, the special effects will leave audiences in awe.
Using what certainly seems like a neat sleight of hand, props and dancing stage hands make the magic of the story believable.
And sinister costumes will do their best to scare.
But there are also moments of well-choreographed tenderness, and a scene with two very impressive puppets.
And the script seems to capture the innocence of the 12 year old boy convincingly enough.
The play lasts two hours, but definitely feels shorter. It draws you in to its world of spells and strange creatures.
It works because it is highly original, but with the recognisable touch of Neil Gaiman, who wrote the novel it’s based on.
You’ll find it captivating even if you haven’t read it.