Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Jammy Voo are an all-female ensemble of Lecoq graduates. In this devised piece we see four diverse women, each in their own life and in some way related to the death of a diver in Hamburg.
There is the spinster teacher, ‘bad’ mother, stood-up girlfriend and a woman re-reading her childhood stories (one of which is also about the diver) and what this show explores most is female loneliness.
Live music and puppetry complement the storytelling.
All the characters in A Corner of the Ocean are living isolated, lonely lives and according to the publicity the piece is about how ‘The story of a diver’s mysterious disappearance strangely touches the lives of four women in their different parts of the world.’ This is one of those cases where you wonder whether the copy for the show is written prior to it being devised, because I for one found myself at the end of this piece little wiser as to the plot that the show purports to be about.
First off though, it’s important to say that Jammy Voo have a lovely energy and deliver uniformly generous performances, with some particularly sharp puppetry from Yngvild Aspeli, who plays a sacked Norwegian academic. The music is evocative and there are some wonderful set pieces, where theatrical images create a surreal poetry that is both humorous and touching.
But unfortunately, the show suffers from its devised roots and does not rise above the individual storylines. The set is cluttered and the back wall is a collage of unidentified texts and this closely resembles the storytelling, which is frustratingly unclear. I kept waiting for the threads of these women’s lives over different continents to somehow be traced or come together, but each performer remains resolutely on her own – except happily for some group singing. Even each woman’s relationship to the diver (and his death) is barely touched upon, and instead what I find myself watching is a portrayal of female loneliness with varying themes – a bit like a symphony, but lacking any clear melody that will tie these all together.
This company clearly has great potential but it feels as if the ingredients have not quite come together this time into something more than the sum of its parts.