Playwright: Tom Morton-Smith
Director: Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder
Cast: Benjamin Blyth, Natalie Grady, Clive Moore and Jennifer Tan
Date: 20th November 2013
Venue: York Theatre Royal Studio
In Doggerland takes you on a trip to the seaside like no other. It explores the lives of four individuals, with the haunting spirit of a fifth cast member. How their lives cross paths in an unexpected way. The eroding sands of the coastline illustrate the feeling of something being ripped away from you uncontrollably.
Jennifer Tan and Benjamin Blyth play Marnie and Linus, brother and sister. Alongside Clive Moore and Natalie Grady who play Simon and Kelly, father and daughter. These two pairs of characters are more connected than they think, as they discover early on in the play. Marnie feels lost. Inside her is something that does not belong to her. With so many unanswered questions the only person who can answer them is Simon. After a tragic car accident, Kelly’s mother and twin died, yet part of her twin lives on inside of Marnie who carries Kelly’s twin sister’s heart. In Doggerland explores the complications of transplants through these two families. Sensitively detailing the effects on all parties: those who have lost someone, those coming to terms with having a transplant and those family members whose support is vital yet character crushing.
Throughout the play there was a constant haunting presence of Kelly’s twin. Not only through the exploration of emotions felt by the characters and the knowledge that Marnie is carrying her heart, but the backdrop of the stage presented an image of a woman’s face – blurred into what appeared to be white waves. I thought this highly symbolic piece set design was beautiful and elegant. A subtle hint to the audience that transplanted body part’s bring with them a story that is not to be forgotten.
Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder directed the action beautifully, and the words, written by Tom Morton-Smith, were sensitive and gripping. I was fully immersed into the lives of the characters. I couldn’t say that one character stole the show as all four cast members were amazing. All four presenting one of the many complex sides to organ donation with expertise and class. Simon’s hope and excitement that his late daughter could live on through Marnie was awe-inspiring. Without ruining the ending, you could actually see a glimmer of it in Marnie as the show came to a close.
Overall, In Doggerland was an amazing piece of drama that I would recommend anyone to see. The only downside being that due to the play being on tour (as Box of Tricks’ first national tour) the chance to do so is limited. If you do, however, find yourself anywhere near the Clwyd Theatre Cymru in Mold on November 28th-30th then do go see this play. I really hope that Box of Tricks will bring In Doggerland back to York in the near future, as I would definitely see it again.