Described as a ‘play with songs’, Narvik resembles an old English ballad or Norse saga, set in the second World War.  Box of Tricks present Lizzie Nunnery’s new play which premiered in Liverpool last year and is on at HOME as the first stop on a national tour.

There’s an interesting structure to this beautifully written play.  Very quickly we see the end of the story followed by the start.  Fisherman Jim meets young Oslo woman Else and falls in love.  He returns to Norway as a radio operator on a Royal Navy ship, and it is Else’s memory that keeps him alive.  The story bounces back and forth over time, bringing in Jim’s childhood; we see the events that have shaped the man he has become.  We see his relationship with crew mate Kenny, who vacillates between friend and tormentor.

Director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder creates a very strong feeling of place on a superb cramped set that resembles the inside of the ship.  There’s some striking physical theatre to evoke specific emotions and events.   Sound is critical, whether the background noise on the ship, an alarm, the sound of battle, or the music of a dance.  Three musicians create the music and song that gives the production the pace and momentum that is so effective. The song encourages reflection; it’s a play that is meant to make us think.

In the end, what do we take from war?  Is it victory; can we be certain which side we were fighting on? Or is it guilt; what do we do to get us through the unnatural world of a war? And what about camaraderie; why should we love those we fight with just because we’re on the same side?

Beautiful and moving.  At HOME until Saturday 4 Feb.  Details here.



Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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