An ‘intriguing and unusual’ piece of theatre

Swallow Theatre
Swallow Theatre

Those who remember Magnetic North’s productions of ‘Walden’ and ‘Sex and God’ will not be surprised that their latest production ‘A Walk at the Edge of the World’, was equally memorable.

Written and directed by Nicholas Bone, the show was performed by Ian Cameron at The Swallow Theatre on 27th August, was equally memorable.

An intriguing title, and the performance began in an intriguing way. We met the performer by the pond next to the theatre and he asked us to join him in a walk of about twenty minutes. He explained that he had always taken walking for granted, until a hip operation meant that he had to learn how to walk again.

We were asked to walk in silence and take time to savour our surroundings. Walking slowly and silently along the lane, we reached a point where we all stopped and paused to absorb the distant view of the Galloway hills, before being led back to the theatre.

The performance captured the tangential way of thinking prompted by a walk. The stage was set for a lecture illustrated by slides on a small screen; there was also a backdrop which had larger images projected onto it. The play then took the form of an illustrated talk, in which family reminiscences were interspersed with occasional references to real people: Donald Crowhurst, who attempted to sail solo round the world, and Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who survived Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.

Readers of WG Sebald’s book ‘The Rings of Saturn’ would recognise the use of black and white photographs and the unusual mix of fiction and fact – inspired by scenes and images absorbed while walking.

Photographs, musical extracts and one person’s reflective commentary, prefaced by a memorable silent walk, made for a most unusual piece of theatre.

On 7th September at The Swallow, something very different – ‘Call Mr Robeson: A Life with Songs’.