Up periscope as the Young Vic is transformed into a submarine for Kursk
Friday 05 June 2009
"Immersive" is the buzzword for theatre at the moment, with audiences taking on the role of a redcoat for Hydrocracker's The Erpingham Camp on Brighton Pier, or donning a mask to wander the murky underworld of a railway tunnel in Punchdrunk's Tunnel 228.
Neither, though, can compete with the upcoming Kursk at the Young Vic. For this new play, inspired by the Russian naval disaster in 2000, audiences will be plunged into the claustrophobic confines of a submarine. The theatre's bijou Maria studio will be transformed into a war-class nuclear vessel, complete with control desk, bunkbeds and galley kitchen. The project is the brainchild of Sound & Fury – a thrusting young company made up of Ivor Novello-winning composer Dan Jones, actor Tom Espiner and his brother, Mark, a director – who specialise in creating unique theatrical soundscapes. Their previous productions include The Watery Part of the World, a Moby Dick–style drama, performed in near darkness and Ether Frolics, a trippy collaboration with Shunt which explored the history of anaesthesia.
Kursk is written by the Tony-nominatedBryony Lavery (Frozen). As part of her research, Lavery spent a day with the rest of the cast and crew on board HMS Torbay in Devon, clambering down the ladder, peering through the periscope and trying out the tiny bunks. "There were all these really charming gentlemen walking around with their heads tilted slightly to one side", she recalls."I was very proud of myself for going down there but I'd never get used to it."
Which is not a problem for one member of the cast. Ian Ashpitel, who plays Donnie Black, the ship's coxswain, joined the Navy in 1973, aged 16, and spent four years as a submariner on HMS Swiftsure and HMS Valiant at the height of the Cold War. His impetus for a career change came, apparently, when his submarine suffered engine failure and was forced to dock in Plymouth. Stuck on board, the men were visited by Su Pollard, in town for a show with her Hi-de-Hi co-stars, to boost morale. Inspired by this brush with the theatre, Ashpitel took the plunge and decided to re-train as an actor. Well, they do say stranger things happen at sea.
To 27 June, Young Vic, London SE1 (020-7922 2979)
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Secret Cinema showed The Great Dictator at protest secret screening, following Sony's The Interview cancellation
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever