Review: Here Comes the Tide/There Goes the Girl at Venue 13

A light-hearted adaption of Hamlet set in a backyard in summer in the American Midwest where Ophelia is a pseudo-fish. Expect multiple colourful inflatables and a tone comparable to if the cast of Modern Family took on Shakespeare.

Amongst the endless adaptations of Shakespeare, it is an impressive feat to create a production that feels fresh. The acting is strong, with the main star Ophelia and her aunt Gert shining the brightest as a deranged fish-girl and an abandoned wife on the brink of taking off her heels and throwing them at someone, respectively. High-points include an inflatable dolphin whose demonic instructions can only be heard by Ophelia, and a baptism in a neon paddling pool.

Some of the jokes fall a little flat (particularly one about Uncle Claude’s overeating which feels in bad taste) and a moment where the fourth wall is broken by Ophelia and her aunt discussing the audience, “who are these people?”, is fleeting, jarring and feels purposeless. A well-designed set allows for surprise entrances from the paddling pool and some onstage rainfall, which serve as interesting additions to this smart production. The punchy, upbeat and ridiculous tone of the show is entertaining and works well. Here Comes the Tide/ There Goes the Girl manages to be both light-hearted and fun, whilst also swimming with dramatic intensity.

Here Comes the Tide/There Goes the Girl, Venue 13, 8-24 Aug (Not 12, 19), 2.35pm

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