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Review | The Ocean at the End of the Lane | The Lowry | 20/12/2022

Premiering at the National Theatre 3 years ago this month, this tour follows the West End transfer of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Having received universal praise in London, will the UK tour live up to the hype? I was invited to the tours opening press night at The Lowry to fnd out.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is based on Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name. The story tells of ‘boy’ (Keir Ogilvy) who at the age of eleven finds his world turned upside down when he meets Lettie (Millie Hikasa). She makes him challenge his own reality and imagination. With other themes of mortality, fear and the supernatural this thought provoking play is not for the faint hearted, as the trigger warnings suggest (see bottom of this page for more info). The story itself is multi-layered, engaging and totally captivating. It is truly one of those shows where you wish intervals weren’t a thing!

Simple staging allowed the space for the faultless cast to bring you into a world of imagination. The carefully choreographed movement in itself is awe-inspiring. Using ensemble members to lift and carry actors, we believe characters every impossible move. It is clever in the way that it doesn’t attempt to disguise how this is achieved, allowing the audience to enjoy these scenes without questioning them. The same can be said for the beautiful light up puppetry in Act 2 which was a heart-warming highlight itself.

Where we were left scratching our heads was with the Magic and Illusions as created by Jamie Harrison. After previously impressing in ‘Harry Potter & The Cursed Child’ and the recent stage adaptation of ‘Bedknobs & Broomsticks’, Harrison is the theatre worlds go to man for illusions, and he didn’t disappoint here. Characters seemed to transport to different parts of the stage via various LED lit doors. It really helped build a menacing aura around Ursula (Charlie Brooks), who before this point comes across as sweet and unassuming. Using magic as a story driver rather than a gimmick only adds to quality of this bold piece of theatre.

It is easy to see why Paule Constable won the 2020 Olivier for Best Lighting Design during the shows original London run. At moments it is simple, using lighting to denote a grave or the dimensions of a room/space. At other moments it is quite simply electrifying and is its own character entirely, working effortlessly with Jherek Bischoft’s powerful score.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is spine-tinglingly gripping and is worthy of all its praise. This will be THE show to catch on tour in 2023, so get your tickets before the hype intensifies further! The Ocean at the End of the Lane plays at The Lowry until 07/01/2023. See below link for booking information.


I was gifted my ticket for this show. All views are own and 100% free from influence.

Trigger Warnings

Age guidance: 12+ yrs. The production contains the following effects; high intensity lighting and strobe, haze and smoke, pyrotechnics, loud sound, and blackouts. This production contains some adult themes that some people may find distressing, including dealing with suicide, drowning, domestic violence (including parental abuse) and depictions of death.


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