Shackleton and his Stowaway, Park Theatre - ★★★ - Until February 1, 2020


Shackleton's antarctic expedition and the survival of his party after the loss of their ship is a story which has continued to fascinate the public. It is an awesome feat of courage and endurance, and Shackleton's character and decisions have continued to provoke speculation and debate. In this version, the character of the proud, unbending and ever-optimistic Shackleton is set against the more realistic, pragmatic and earthy perspective of a youthful stowaway. The latter holds his hero in the highest of esteem yet questions some of Shackleton's views and decisions. While it is interesting to see how the two are played off against each other, the problem is that neither character seems to develop and the interpersonal drama is quite limited in its scope. Nevertheless, Richard Ede creates a credible Shackleton and Elliott Ross is a delightfully cheeky stowaway. As the characters are essentially flat, the dramatic crux of the piece becomes the situation of the crew of the Endurance. However, the challenge of making the plight of the ship and crew the core of the drama is that it is difficult to convey a sense of the antarctic and their experience in the limited space of a theatre. This a story that calls out for a cinematic rendition. In this instance, we are left with long descriptions of the landscape and the men's situation. The exposition sometimes makes it feel more like we are witnessing a radio play. Still, despite these limitations, the chronicle of Shackleton and his ill-fated voyage cannot help but intrigue, and this is an interesting effort to convey the continuing hold it has on our imagination!

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until February 1, 2020
Mon - Sat: 7:45 pm
Thu & Sat: 3:15 pm
Park Theatre
Nearest tube: Finsbury Park Station
https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/shackleton-and-his-stowaway

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