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The World Over
Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012
2

2 stars

theSpace on North Bridge (venue website)
Theatre
13-15, 17-18, 20-25 Aug, 10:25pm-11:55pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 14+ only.
 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.

The World Over is an enthusiastic production of a tale of destiny. In this fairy-tale/Homer/Shakespeare-inspired story, lost prince Adam wanders the world in search of his island kingdom – a land believed lost in myth. (Why no one believes this place exists is never explained; Adam can only have been away a couple of decades when we begin.) After many adventures – essentially being washed up on island after island, and encountering numerous coincidences – he finds his way home, but home is not what he dreamed of at all.

The cast of six play various roles, with wildly different degrees of success. Sadly, one cast member is very hard to understand and creates a severe obstacle to enjoying the show; he is practically unintelligible. The piece also seems unsure if it is playing for laughs or not. Some actors are keen to give heightened, comical performances, while others don’t; at times it is as if not all of them are actually in the same show.

The script of full of similar inconsistencies. Some deaths are intense tragedies, others seem unimportant. Characters experience unexplained transformations, such as the lost prince’s mother, who gives up everything for him in one moment yet later seems unconcerned about his fate. Various kings behave extraordinarily ruthlessly to their own children, with no particular motivation. This is 90 minute version of a 2 hour show, but it’s hard to believe that the dropped material would explain it all. In fact, cuts or not, it really does feel too long… as we wind up on yet another island.

One charming aspect of the show is the welcome from an academic, who introduces the story with some newly discovered maps. This was a delight, and seemed to promise a far more involving and intriguing play. But the maps amount to little, being mainly connected with a sudden introduction of a new set of characters about ten minutes before the show ends.

In the end, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t steer a ship containing your family into a tidal wave, just because you think it might the way to get to be king of somewhere. And the final result is a show that leaves as much trace as one of its washed-away islands. It really could have used more maps.

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