Two weeks of rehearsals on a remote Greek island beats a draughty church hall. It has obviously inspired the actors of Found Theatre and their director Simon Corble.
This fledgling company has returned from the Mediterranean with its first ever production, a hauntingly beautiful adaptation of The Fisherman and His Soul. It is cloaked in Greek myth and epic Asian legend. The maudlin sentiments of Oscar Wilde’s story, often a problem when adapting his work, have been toned down.
The actors speak with gentle, atmospheric voices. Patrick Bridgman, who plays the Soul, has quantities of narrative dialogue and he delivers them with a poet’s relish and command. Catriona Martin, playing both the object of the Fisherman’s affections and a feisty witch, gives her words a lyrical beauty. Both Bridgman and Martin are dressed in peasant white. Charlie Brennan, as the eponymous Fisherman, is wearing denim jeans, which detracts from the otherwise timeless quality. There are occasions when all three actors are rather static, as if they are restricted to their portable stage.
A simple but vividly effective soundscape adds power and depth to the story. Fierce storms are created with black umbrellas and a sheet. Shaken pebbles make the sound of the Fisherman hauling in his heavy nets.
Unfortunately sitting in the fourth row, of the Lawrence Batley’s Cellar Theatre, it was impossible to see what was happening below waist height and there was a good deal happening. Seating in a flexible venue can always be rearranged.