• Dress Circle Reviews

Into The Night - Review


Photo by Helen Maybanks

There has been some discussion recently about whether streamed theatre falls more into film or theatre and whether it’s a substitute for theatre. But for me, the hybrid approach feels like its own new medium. It comes with its own new possibilities and limitations but at the centre of it is how to tell a story. “Original Theatre” have embraced those possibilities to bring us their beautiful new production “Into The Night”.


This was originally shown in December last year and what’s been recorded was actually the dress rehearsal as a positive Covid test (once again) prevented the show being recorded when planned. Fortunately, during this rehearsal they pressed record and we were able to see the production. Due to the fact it wasn’t the final planned production it is are missing some elements, such as music at certain times which would have only made it more impactful but grateful we were able to see this raw performance.


The script is adapted by Frazer Flintham from Michael Sagar-Fenton’s book “Penlee: The Loss of a Lifeboat”. When the coaster “Union Star” experiences engine failure and is being swept towards the coast of Cornwall during a cold and stormy December evening in 1981 they send a message for help. In hurricane conditions a group of RNLI volunteers launch the Penlee lifeboat “Solomon Browne” to rescue the 8 people on board.


This true story is about, as one of the actors said, the generosity of the human spirit, which we so often forget about. A group of people went out in dangerous conditions, knowing the potential danger to themselves, in order to help others in danger. A story of real heroism and bravery.


The cast did an excellent job with a need to honour those who went out and they did just that. With a cast of just 9 people playing all the roles it was a challenging production and they all met that challenge.


The further challenge they had was to create, in a relatively small space, the feeling of danger on the boats and even add in a helicopter during the rescue. With clever camera work, lighting and projections of the waves the scenes were expertly captured. As ever with theatre, it’s about all the elements coming together to create a moment.


It’s clear that all involved felt the weight of responsibility to tell this story in the right way. They have created a sensitive and respectful tribute which honours those involved 40 years ago and allowing more people to learn about what happened. A highly recommended production.


It’s available to watch until 20th February 2022 and you can purchase tickets here.


Rating: 4 Star


Photo by Helen Maybanks

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