“The Sea Between” dives into the depth of today’s toxic relationship and makes it in a way that will leave you sweating with emotions by the end. The play is a slow burn, with the main beach bonfire of emotions by the very end. A proper sea-like experience.
London, post-Brexit era. Ginny, a millennial originally coming from Greece, works as a designer and enjoys everything the Big Smoke has to offer. At a house party, she meets Mike, a British lawyer, and the romance blooms. But as the relationship progresses, is it going to end with a happy ending or a Greek tragedy? Mike has some secrets that may change the destiny of this couple forever.
A slightly triggering toxic relationship tale
“The Sea Between” is an interesting concept – the script is original and fresh but at the same time universal enough for most of the audience to relate with. If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship or had to do with a partner that needs to be in control, this is a play that will touch you to the core. Word of warning, however, may bring certain pain and memories back (make sure you are in a good emotional state before seeing the production, as the story may be triggering for some).
There’s some work to be done around the script and staging to make it a 5* play, but it’s a show that bursts with potential. It’s a pleasure to see a new production company, female-led by Demi Leigh, who’s both the writer and the lead in the show, explore deep emotional topics in modern theatre.
Both actors in the show, Demi Leigh as Ginny and Matthew Kay as Mike do their best to fill the small Baron’s Court Stage with an ocean of emotions. Frankly, I loved the chemistry between them – especially in the moments of fights or anger. I could see the claws coming out, and the fiery moments of the conversation could literally burn your soul as you were listening to them.
A spotlight on young talents on the stage of Baron’s Court Theatre
Kay is smashing as a serious, control-obsessed solicitor. His power play moments are delivered on point, and he is visibly struggling as the more of his secrets is revealed, the more control over his emotions is going away.
Leigh plays a relatable artistic soul, an immigrant, who serves a strong relatability factor with her slightly annoying little quirks. What I liked in the writing was that she’s not in any way portrayed as the perfect part of the couple – she has her flaws as well – there’s no idealisation of anyone here. As a result, we watch two well-balanced characters sliding on the scale between the good and the bad.
The set design is set around the bed, which directly mirrors the state of the relationship. It’s decorated with flowers as Ginny gets into the nesting stage of a relationship, and then gets stripped of the decorative cushions as she gets ready to end it. It’s quite a direct way to showcase a metaphor, but on a microscopic stage like the one at Barons Court, it does the job. The sound design, with a big chunk of it focusing on the sound of the sea, was a good idea, constantly reminding us about the Greek heritage of Ginny but also – my interpretation-about the waves moving the relationship, metaphorically.
An infinite amount of potential, with a space for improvements
In terms of story, I found the play missing out on certain micro-moments, especially combined with some staging decisions. To me, the first scene of the play just didn’t fully sit right – maybe it’s also because it was slightly rushed – we see no other “dating” scenes and just skip right to the serious relationship stage afterward. During their first meeting, as Mike enters the room, Ginny starts the conversation with him, without even looking behind her to check who’s that – it was frustrating to watch because it’s a party – you always check out whoever enters the space you’re in!
I also found it weird that sometimes the conversations between lovers seemed a bit dry. Would be worthy to see some nicknames they have for each other rather than just babe or love (the couple already lived together for a while so for sure they should have some kind of love language between them).
There’s a big, physical scene at the very end when something happens to Mike (won’t say exactly not to spoil the story). The staging of that particular moment needed a bit of work – I wasn’t sure if the person was being saved, poisoned, or drowned. For such a pivotal moment of the play, it could have much more impact if shaped up a bit more.
“The Sea Between” is a pleasure to watch, and a superior showcase of young, talented actors. It’s a play that’s still a work in progress, but with such well-written characters and a script filled with emotions, it has an infinite amount of potential. Keep an eye on Driftwood Productions and their future shows, it will be worth it!
*I was invited to see the show on a PR invite. All opinions are my own.
“The Sea Between” by Driftwood Productions
Written by Demi Leigh
Directed by Vittorio Parri
Cast: Demi Leigh, Matthew Kay
Baron’s Court Theatre
30 Aug – 17 Sept 2022
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