The Ocean After All review at Underbelly Bristo Square, Edinburgh – ‘a slippery, skilfully told story’
Amiable Australian yarn-spinner Wil Greenway is a fixture at the fringe. His beautifully titled shows – The Way the City Ate the Stars, These Trees the Autumn Leaves Alone, Either Side Of Everything – are disorientating shaggy dog stories that blend whimsy with wide-eyed wonder at the world.
This year’s hour – The Ocean After All – is slightly darker, slightly sadder, but it’s still wonderfully Wil.
Greenway is always unafraid of playing around with form. Under Kellie Tori’s direction, he eases his audience into his show, initially leaving the door open and the lights on, then slowly wrapping them up in a cotton-wool cocoon with his off-beat imagery and quirky humour. His stories sit within stories within stories.
The Ocean After All is, on the surface, about a man trapped on a desert island, a message in a bottle, and a jumbled, jogged memory that slips and slides under the audience’s feet. Underneath, though, it’s about friendships that drift apart, lives lived in a daze, and a lot more betides.
Greenway is performing solo this year, without regular musical collaborators Kathryn Langshaw and Will Galloway. Langshaw still supplies a softly swelling recorded soundscape, though, that elegantly underscores this slippery, skilfully told story.
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