Doggerland

You might be visiting Brighton Fringe to escape the conference circuit, but Doggerland throws you straight into an administrative meeting, albeit one hosted in a Hanover living room with plenty of twists. Yes, you’ll be well supplied with all the conference cliches, including PowerPoint presentations, experts with unpronounceable names, and biros, but you’ll also encounter a sense of adventure you probably wouldn’t find in a fully booked Radisson somewhere off the M4.

Rest assured: Doggerland is very funny

If you’re worried about the conference theme, rest assured: Doggerland is very funny. Billed as an absurd lecture, it leans mostly towards the absurdity to create some hilarious scenes. Solo performer Helen Tennison has huge amounts of energy and enough charisma to spark conversations and confessions between ‘conference attendees’ (audience members) in the ‘conference hall’ (repurposed living room at the Lionhouse). Those who dread audience interaction need not fear, it’s light touch and no one is really put on the spot. It’s used to create an atmosphere of involvement. One example is that Tennison writes everyone’s names on a sticker as they walk in and she refers to them regularly to create an instant sense of familiarity.

If you’re not aware of the concept of Doggerland, it was once an area of land that connected Britain to continental Europe, which is now fully submerged under the North Sea. But Doggerland the play uses this geographical phenomenon – a land that once was a fertile home to many until a tsunami likely wiped them all out making it inaccessible – to explore liminal spaces and how they provide an opportunity for change and self-discovery.

Not everything makes narrative sense. Certain threads are introduced and then dropped. The professor’s petition makes for a good punchline, but reappears after the joke has worn thin. It’s never really made clear why Helen really wants a visa to Doggerland, or truly why the Doggerland Administration Bureau exists – why are we at a conference if they’re keen to keep people out? There are plenty of unanswered questions, but when you’re also watching a woman form a dog puppet from a plastic bag or writhing on the table, you realise that perhaps the details are irrelevant and maybe the questions are actually the point.

This one woman show is a tour de force performance that sweeps you away with it like a boat going out to sea. You might not always know where it’s going, but you’re certain to enjoy the journey.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Elanor Parker

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A PowerPoint presentation gone wrong, a surreal geology trip and a large plastic bag. Discover Doggerland, a utopia that stretched between the UK and Europe until almost 8000 years ago, when melting ice sheets flooded the land, drowning its last remaining people. At the Doggerland Administration Bureau, we invite you to examine notions of boundaries, the implications of ecological barriers, the arbitrary concept of borders, and the threshold to your own private Doggerland. Doggerland includes audience interaction, power-point mishaps, physical storytelling and oddball characters on an absurdist adventure. BYOB (Bring Your Own Biro). ' a mad beauty of a show'. Nominated for best show of the fringe, Stockholm Fringe Festival. Helen Tennison is an Edinburgh Fringe First Award-winning theatre-maker working in the UK & internationally. Created and Performed by Helen Tennison Dramaturgy & Direction Arjan Gebraad Composition & Sound Designer, Technician Matt Eaton Set & Costume Simin Ma Creative Consultant Roel Swanenburg Movement Consultant Olga Masleinnikova Dialect Coach Katherine Heath Photography Andy Barker Doggerland is supported by Arts Council England, Het Zuidiljk Toneel Netherlands, Bathway Theatre at Greenwich University, Actors of Dionysus and The Festival of Europe.

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