PIGDOG’s Boat, which is currently on at Theatre N16, is a perfect example of how you should never judge a play by its set. I went in with mixed expectations and came out having had them blown out of the water with a very strong piece of theatre.
Boat tells the story of Girl, who with her sister is travelling in a small boat looking for new land. On the way she meets a turtle and a seagull, but out in the ocean things aren’t always what they seem.
“A House by the sea…they said” quotes the sister, and you’re immediately hit with this big sense of open emptiness that comes from the ocean, giving off Life of Pi vibes. The play then does a 180 and mashes itself with influences of The Nether (which was a fantastic play itself) to create something darkly beautiful.
There was this lovely innocence and youth to Girl, who carried the piece really well. Both Girl and her sister embodied these characters that really could’ve been anyone, and that everyone could feel some sort of connection to. And then the sister got a bit weird… But the ‘why’ of it is like a slap in the face as the play draws towards its climax.The turtle and the seagull were great comedic characters, with fantastic movement that took you onto the boat and made you feel like they were their characters anthropomorphised. It just goes to show the effects you can create without big budgets.
There was an interesting element of live recording and mixing sounds on stage, so the atmosphere of the ocean was created as the play went on by the characters and the audience. As much as this was different, it was at times distracting, with an almost pointless narration of the scene change, which made it feel like they were chapters of a book coming to life.
Boat is the company’s first piece and it definitely needs to be seen by as many people as possible. It’s on at Theatre N16, Balham, until 5th November.