Joe Shipman as Jim with the cast and musicians of Narvik
NARVIK, a play with songs written by Lizzie Nunnery opens in the present day with 90 year old Liverpudlian Jim Callaghan (Joe Shipman) collapsing and taking his final breaths.
As his life events flash before his eyes, we are transported to Norway where Jim, as a young man, is working on the fishing boats.
He meets the beautiful Else Dahl (Nina Yndis) at a dance and a romance is ignited. We move forward in time to the German occupation of Norway during World War 2, and Jim is serving on a British Navy warship as a radio operator along with troubled Kenny Atwood (Lucas Smith) and the two become friends. Interspersed with haunting folk music and songs, a captivating story of troubled friendships, love, loss, regret and horrors of war is woven into this beautifully written piece.
The cubic, claustrophobic, industrial set; made up of scaffolding, pipes, metal grids, floors and walkways lit by a single light bulb works perfectly for all of the settings. Three ghostly musicians in grey boiler suits watch on whilst moving themselves around the set with well choreographed ease. Along with the musical accompaniment they provide and the atmospheric background sounds they never distract from the powerful, passionate dialogue but rather enrich the entire piece.
It is a technically brilliant production full of tension, humour, tenderness, anger, fear and pathos. Supported by well designed sound and lighting, you can almost smell the oil and grease of the ship, the beer at the dance and the dankness in the cellar.
All three actors give a wonderfully intense performance. It is a master class in acting, with perfect timing, delivery, flow and expression. Superbly directed by Hannah Tyrell-Pinder, this emotional masterpiece has no weak links. Five stars seem inadequate for a production of such quality. Box of Tricks theatre are presently touring with Narvik – see their website http://boxoftrickstheatre.co.uk for dates.
Rosemary Manjunath / Elizabeth Smith