Sea Wall ***

Sea Wall acts more like a prelude rather than a full course of drama.  Clocking in at 30 minutes, Simon Stephens’s monologue is told by a man who has been affected by a recent trauma.

The man is Alex, a relatively happy photographer who is in a happy marriage and lives a fairly fulfilling life.  This ‘happiness’ will be shattered by an incident that he witnesses but cannot prevent.  The monologue is Alex’s testament, telling us about the before and after of this harsh moment in his life.  His story bounces around and leaves out some key moments while overindulging in other, less important, points in his life.

The production is quite simple.  The house lights never fade and actor Andrew Scott is already on stage when the audience enter.  Director George Perrin has worked with Scott to control pacing and tempo, and the performance is handled fairly realistically as if you are listening in on an average person’s inner-thoughts rather than watching a ‘performance’.

As for Scott’s performance, it is quite solid.  He plays a very convincing ‘everyday man’ and is both likable and believable.  He never tries to grab the audience but allows the story to instead creep up, and it is hard not to feel for the man at the end of his story.

Sea Wall is a very good piece of theatre.  It has a solid script, confident direction and a very good performance.  However, with a short running time and a ‘realistic’ staging concept, the production doesn’t allow the audience to emotionally invest in either the character or his story and feels more like a distraction.  It should be seen in tandem with something else rather than on its own.

Performing on the Traverse 2 at alternating times from August 6-16.  Check the Traverse’s website or brochure for correct dates and times.

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