Adelaide Fringe 2011
The violet sets out to sea off the shore of Brixham, six men battle the stormy sea as well as the egos of their fellow crew. This award winning play comes from the UK’s Bear Trap Theatre company. This is the show that everyone should see this Fringe.
The scene is set, six men on The Violet. A fishing trawler that has suffered the worst of the changing economy, forced out to sea for one last haul to try and salvage their livelihoods. The only problem is that the last haul takes them into a storm, not only a physical storm of the sea but also a storm of egos as the six crew member battle with each others problems.
This performance is more than just a play, it is a story told by six engaging storytellers that will have you from the first moment they walk out on stage. All they have is a table, chairs, a swinging light, their waders and a head full of shanties. No fancy or intricately designed sets to get in their way. With this they take you on their journey out to sea.
It was hard to find fault with this performance, the script would flip from having you laughing to being fully engaged by the tension. The design wasn’t over the top, and yet effective, and as for the performances they were beautifully real. The only thing I could find to criticise was the under par voice work of the captain. Which when you look at the show as a whole, isn’t much of a dent on this impressive show.
The sound design of the show immersed the audience within the world of The Violet, from the roaring sound scapes of the storm, to the performers singing shanties in the scene changes and not to forget the abstract hauling in of nets. All this pushed the story on at seamless pace.
The lighting for the show seamed to follow suit with everything else and kept to simple yet effective, using minimal lighting to create a feeling of confinement. The actors themselves also manipulated lights to bring the storm to life.
It is hard to say which performance was the stand out, when you have an ensemble of actors that work together so well. The ensemble stood out as a whole, a sign of great company at work in unison.
The performers from Bear Trap Theatre (UK) bring an award winning piece of theatre from the UK. As they say, less is more, and it can be so true for theatre. This show has so much less ‘stuff’ and yet delivers so much more than most productions. It is great to see this theatre in Adelaide. I hope there is more to come.