Zero Degrees (and Drifting), West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

We're all cast adrift here. There's a pirate DJ, whose companion is a toy monkey; a museum curator, whose friend is a cat; and Marianne, whose live-in lover, Alan, is periodically drawn away from her to the sea. In Zero Degrees (and Drifting), the 11th show created by the inventive Leeds-born Unlimited Theatre company since it was formed, seven years ago, tales of salty endeavours and nautical snapshots ebb and flow around the incident of the young man on the shore.

When a mysterious stranger is washed up like a piece of flotsam or jetsam, Marianne, instead of calling the emergency services, rescues him, takes him to her lighthouse-home and installs him in her boyfriend's bed. Distracted from measuring weather and preserving fish, she is soon dedicating herself to saving the visitor. Who is he, where has he come from and what has caused his battered yet beautiful body to be abandoned in the ocean? Hints are given about the torture of a boy with a speech impediment, and the stranger certainly seems to have lost his tongue, though something sparkles in the air when he opens his mouth. Does he have a spiritual quality, this beautiful merman? He certainly has a magnetic attraction not only for Marianne but also for Alan, who lusts after him.

That's one side of this tidal tale. Back on dry land, the Museum of Everything That Matters has been condemned by those who think that nothing matters. An inventory of its dwindling contents reveals surreal collections of weather, lovingly preserved in glass cases, and long-lost memories catalogued in wooden drawers. A computerised test of British citizenship that throws up increasingly banal questions delights the earnest curator, Bea, Middle-England-conditioned. Yet even she shows hidden depths in the audio diary in which she is recording each stage of the crumbling descent of her beloved museum into the sea.

Meanwhile, the anonymous voice of the DJ drones on, broadcasting from a boat that is floating somewhere and nowhere, buoyed by an endless tide of news of missing persons and the odd tortoise.

In Jon Spooner's production, Sarah Belcher brings humanity to the role of Marianne, while Nathan Rimmel's Alan clearly wishes that charity began anywhere but home. A more conclusive ending might have compensated for the lack of any governing passionate idea, and even a hint of resolution with the departure of the enigmatic visitor would have been welcome. But in the play's quirky world of missing people and lost souls, you just have to go with the flow.

Contact Theatre, Manchester (0161-274 0600) tonight and tomorrow; Warwick Arts Centre (024-7652 4524) 2 and 3 November; Theatre Royal, Bath (01225 448844) 4 to 6 November Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (0131-228 1404) 10 to 13 November; Crucible Studio, Sheffield (0114-249 6000) 17 to 20 November

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing