The Dead Sea – Derby Theatre

***
This afternoon’s performance was the end of a series of previews prior to a nationwide tour. A one woman show, it has been made in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. Louise White is the performer, writer, and producer of the show and describes herself as a theatrician. Its marketing of content is a little ambiguous, but its 7+ recommended target age positions itself as show suitable for primary school age children.

dead sea 2
I took along a seven and five year old, the audience child range was five to nine years.
Performed in The Studio, it offered a basic single set, backcloth to project images on and a portable porthole, this morphed from ocean, to sea bed to scientific laboratory. The plot embraces some simple themes. The ecological threat posed by plastic in our seas. Overcoming personal phobias, in this case a marine biologists’ fear of the sea! And the importance of having the courage to follow your dreams.

dead sea1
One person shows are tiring, and demanding, upon the performer. Louise tackled her task with energy, enthusiasm, commitment and a smile. A short presentation at the end from a representative of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust underscored the ecological message, explained the good fortune and serendipity that David Attenborough’s Blue Planet had chosen to feature the problem of plastics in our oceans bringing the issue to a vast audience, and rightly cherished a letter of support from the man himself for this project.

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“Octonauts” is the gold standard for children’s oceanographic scientific adventure and provides a formidable comparison. Wisely, Louise does not try to oversimplify her ecological message and neatly interweaves it with a first- person narrative. The inflatable orca, and turtle puppet, are welcome component parts of the show, but the opportunity to provide them with a narrative voice was eschewed, a curious choice for a children’s show. Our children said they would have liked more of them both.

 

louise

Louise White

At around forty -five minutes playing time, and ten minutes ecological presentation after the play itself, the show did not outstay its welcome. Louise was given warm applause at the end, acknowledging her effort and dedication to the production. For more information on future productions: http://www.louisewhitetheatrician.com/
Gary Longden

 

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