Sunday, March 05, 2023

How Not To Drown at Theatre by the Lake

Keswick, Cumbria. Tuesday 30th-February-2023.

A thought-provoking performance. Powerfully written and performed by the asylum seeker himself in a small talented cast. 

After our last trip to this very enjoyable repertory theatre, we booked ourselves in for a repeat visit. This time to see "How Not To Drown". It was a joint production by ThickSkin and Traverse Theatre Company. Mary knew of the Traverse Theatre Company by reputation so this was a good bet.

As last time we had a pre-theatre supper in the friendly and very handy cafe next door.

It tells the tale of an 11-year-old boy from Kosovo, who is sent to England by his father to avoid the violence and conflict. It covers his journey across Europe with people smugglers and his early teenage years spent in the British care system with various foster families. What makes this more remarkable is that the playwright and lead actor is the man himself telling his own story.

The production was theatrical in the best sense of the word. With an absolutely minimal stage and a few well chosen props, they conjured up the war in Kosovo, the travel across Europe and his life in a variety of locations. The small cast of five rotated roles and at times the play almost merged into a dance performance. The flyer mentions "ThickSkin's trademark physicality and slick production values" and those were very much in evidence.

The sort of experience you can only get with live theatre.

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