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The Ocean And The Star – Edinburgh Fringe 2023, The Space On The Mile

Reviewer: Adrian Ross

Writer: Eleni Cosma

Director: Eleni Cosma

Every so often, you discover something on the Fringe that’s very special, and nobody knows about it. This is one such find. It’s a fable about a dying writer calling upon a star to leave the night sky and appear in human form, to help him finish composing his play.

With the light brought by the star (Angelika Christoforou), things get darker. The writer, named Ocean (Jad Sayegh), is struggling to find the words to describe the trauma of being raped long ago. The rape theme goes further, so this show may be triggering for some potential audience members. There is no set age guidance, but perhaps it should be at least 14 plus.

The intense interaction between Ocean and the star is fascinating. It’s not what we might have anticipated. The lines are direct and familiar, entirely without formalities.

On a surface level, the dynamic resembles two highly-strung actors bickering over their creative differences. The conflict drifts back and forth between fragments of Ocean’s play and a discussion of his motivation in writing it. There’s much here about creativity and self-expression.

On top of this is a reincarnation theme and a discussion of LGBTQIA+ rights. According to the press release, the show is also about resilience, redemption and the complexities of the human condition. As the debut production by Almost Theatre, it’s arresting, astonishing, but trying to pack in a bit too much. At several points, the star breaks into beautiful, mournful song. There are movement sequences. The combative, quickfire script is full of complex stories and ideas.

The show demands a lot of the audience, which in one way is positive. There are plenty of new plays on the Fringe that adopt a much more naïve storytelling style. But for all its sophistication, this piece does become rather jumbled and confusing in places.

That said, the performers are very skilled and engaging. The music, costumes and direction are great. The simple set works. There’s a lot of quality on display here and it thoroughly deserves to be seen.

Runs until 15 August 2023 | Image: Contributed

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Ultra creative

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