Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, is a captivating, fantastical performance. Adapted by Joel Horwood, this is a story about magic, memory and mystery; it explores the past and dives into a realm where reality and magic coexist.
The story centres around an unnamed man who returns to his childhood home in rural England for his father’s funeral. He drives to the nearby Hempstock Farm, where he once played as a child. There, he meets with the older Mrs Hempstock, and is transported to the past, where he rediscovers his mystical adventures with Lettie Hempstock, the young girl who once lived there. The Hempstock women (Lettie, her mother and grandmother), present an air of mystery, warmth and wisdom, as they come together to confront a supernatural force from invading the lives of the boy and his family.
The enchanting set design transforms the stage into an otherworldly landscape, capturing the essence of the novel’s themes. The visual and sound effects are extraordinary and create a phenomenal theatrical experience, seamlessly transitioning between the real and supernatural. Creatures and forces come to life and immerse the audience into the story.
The cast delivers a stellar performance, each character has their own unique personality and relationship with the boy, which adds layers to the story. Whilst the play explores the boy’s childhood curiosities, and the world of fantasy, there are deeper emotions such as grief, trauma and abuse, which we witness through the boy’s journey. However, what is most striking, is the dynamic between the two young characters – Lettie Hempstock (Millie Hikasa) and the ‘Boy’ (Keir Ogilvy), which develops throughout the play. Their friendship is touching, as we watch their connection flourish while they lend support to each other.
“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” stage adaptation is a spellbinding journey that captures the essence of Neil Gaiman’s novel while offering a unique and unforgettable theatrical experience. It’s a testament to the magic of storytelling, the power of live theatre, and the enduring appeal of a well-crafted tale. Whether you’re a fan of the book or new to the story, this production is a must-see, and it will leave you with a sense of wonder and renewed appreciation for the art of storytelling.
Until 25 November 2023 – get tickets here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane/
Featured image: Millie Hikasa (Lettie) and Keir Ogilvy (Boy) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane.-c.-Brinkhoff Moegenburg
Reviewed by Ridha Sheikh
Ridha is a volunteer writer for Abundant Art. She is currently studying a Masters in International Public Policy at Queen Mary’s University of London. Ridha has a strong passion for art and is excited to explore London’s art scene.