BTR - Reviews of The World Over

The World Over

Mon 13th – Sat 25th August 2012

reviews

Thomas Stell

at 03:57 on 16th Aug 2012

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'The World Over' is the journey of an Odysseus looking for a vanished Ithaca. It is the story of Adam who, raised by an old man on a desert island, is captured by sailors, and who, when told a fairy tale about a dispossessed prince, believes himself to be that prince and makes up his mind to go back to his kingdom. The myth is there – a man going after an imagined paradise – but has been obscured by complications in the narrative, bad writing, and acting that is, in general, less than brilliant.

There are so many different elements of legend presenting themselves in a short time that they all seem to lose their importance. We have a Turandot-esque riddle, an island of the lotus eaters, shipwrecks dividing families and characters recognised by their rings or pendants. More seriously, the main idea of the search for a place that does not exist is badly confused when Adam is clearly shown to be the real prince from the story but his kingdom has now been covered by the sea (another mythic plot device dealt with too lightly).

The prose style is characteristic of this kind of American popular fantasy. The tired and unromantic language of modern life is spoken (“it is imperative that we purchase...”; “it is essential that I reach home immediately”), as are misused archaisms like “such a bootless mission”. We often go towards the mixed metaphor. Ships sail in “battalions”; one of the characters is “pierced by a thickening ache in his chest”; no one just sees anything, he gazes upon it; the prince will not just cut the brambles in his way, he will cut a swathe through them.

It should be said that Adam is played capably by Magnus Sinding, ageing and becoming wiser very convincingly, but the other actors are less good. Because of his thick accent, Ryan Dolan, who has various roles, is hard to understand, and the stage combat and mime are not particularly energetic. I like myth and fairy tale very much, and I am usually pleased to see a play inspired by them, but this isn’t the way to do it.

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Helena Blackstone

at 10:04 on 16th Aug 2012

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‘The World Over’ tells the story of a man who has begun his young life on an empty island, not seeing another living soul for years until he is rescued and begins an epic quest. We follow Magnus Sindig on this journey from his initial naivety, which is suitably haunting and alien because of the faraway look in his eyes and his whispering fairytale voice, to his age of defeated pessimism and a deep gravelly voice. I loved his dazzlingly white costume, which proved to be the visual heart of the production. His was the most impressive performance, holding the epic together throughout its endless scenes, which sadly require endless patience-trying traipsing on and offstage, although I suppose this is typical of the epic fantasy genre.

Simon Lamb was also truly entertaining with his array of characters, each with different voices, accents, mannerisms - all comic and well thought out. I enjoyed Ryan Dolan’s physical performances in his many different roles, but unfortunately found it hard to catch what he was saying. Cara Mahoney was funny, relatable and looked intelligent on the stage. I enjoyed being on her side in whatever part she was playing. Dominic Kimberlin plays a slimy spoilt prince well but in other places seems a little under-rehearsed.

Other actors could also have been better rehearsed and more developed. Anthony Simpson-Pike is miscast for most of his roles; unable to portray the gruff manly figures he is given, he tries to deepen his voice, but, unable to do this also, the strain on him becomes a strain for the audience. Generally the other actors could have relaxed a little, which would help them avoid stuttering and the somewhat awkward, gaping-mouthed darting kisses of the central couple. There is lots of room for improvement but nothing that is unfixable, so I think it could quite easily move up a star rating as the production becomes more polished.

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