Ocean at the End of The Lane
In The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013), a dark fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, a young boy accidentally brings an evil entity from another reality into his world, and needs the help of three mysterious women to try to get rid of the threat.
A number-one New York Times bestseller, the novel won several honours, including the British Book Awards Book of the Year and the Locus Award for best fantasy novel. It has been adapted for the stage and it’s also in early stages of being adapted into a feature film.
Hailed by many as ‘Stranger Things on stage’, the show explores multiple universes, multiple personalities, multiple timelines and multiple levels of consciousness. With brilliant imagery, some ground-breaking staging and a deeply immersive soundscape, this is a production that is best enjoyed like a rollercoaster; once you’re on you can’t stop it so sit back and enjoy the ride.
Beginning in the current age, the narrator returns to the town where he grew up to attend a funeral. He visits an old farm and, sitting by the pond behind the farmhouse, he allows himself to reminisce to back when he was a young boy living with his parents and sister close by. In the farmhouse lived the Hempstocks: an 11-year-old girl, Lettie; her mother, Ginnie Hempstock; and her grandmother, Old Mrs. Hempstock. The farm supplied milk to local distributors and other farm produce but the main thing he is drawn to is his memory of the pond, a pond that Lettie called an ocean (in fact she insists that to get to the farm when she was a baby, she journeyed across its vastness).
In attempt to make some money, the narrator’s parents rent out his room to an opal miner who sadly meets with an untimely end (suicide after stealing the family car) and it is this that prompts the strange and unexplained events. Who are the Hempstocks? Are they really 3 different people ? Did they really save him or did they contribute to more nefarious outcomes.
Without wanting to spoil the essence, the otherworldly nature and indeed the twists of the story, let's suffice it to say that this is unlike ANYTHING I’ve ever seen on stage – again, vibes of Stranger Things, Tales of the Unexpected, CreepShow, Insidious, Inception and many more time travelling and parallel universe productions flow right through this show, leaving the audience with a sense of unnerving uncertainty.
Having already toured extensively, this is nearing the end of the current run so I urge anyone who is open to having their reality challenged to grab a ticket now and let yourself be taken on a ride like no other.