There is a room in C Nova that you have never seen before: up endless winding staircases and through many closed doors, a small attic store has been meticulously transformed into the bare living room of Black Rock Lighthouse, where this tale of love and loss takes place. Jethro Compton has established himself as a master of immersive, site-specific theatre, creating unique spaces that place their occupants right in the middle of the action: this year, Sirenia is no exception.
The thrill in this piece is undoubtedly the very real experience that comes from sharing a space with these two characters
Isaac Dyer (Rob Pomfret) lives alone as a lighthouse keeper; within this single room his daily routine can be seen in the detail of the decoration, with half-eaten dinners hastily pushed under his untidy desk and empty whisky bottles gathering in the corner. As events unfold that change this routine forever, Dyer’s increasingly frantic search to find light and warmth reveals just how much attention has been given to making this set a living, breathing space, from perfectly placed matchsticks to exquisite lighting that helps create the lighthouse beacon outside.
The arrival of a new player (Evie Tyler) drastically alters the dynamic between Pomfret and the small audience gathered in the corner, who have the chance to see the change from a man living alone to his confrontation with this unexpected guest. Both Tyler and Pomfret are wonderfully attuned in their performances; Tyler’s struggle as Morvoren for recovery in the face of death is heart-wrenching, whilst Pomfret delivers on all levels as a tormented soul shying from his past. The conclusion of this tale was unanticipated, and perhaps does not serve these performers as well as the rest of the play, shifting the power from Dyer to Morvoren with difficulty. Safe in his living room, Pomfret is able to command the space for the majority of the performance, and Tyler must work hard to achieve this in the same manner.
Whilst I am not sure that I am completely satisfied with the outcome of this story, that is for each small audience to decide; the thrill in this piece is undoubtedly the very real experience that comes from sharing a space with these two characters, feeling less like a spectator in the dark and more as if one had looked through the window of the lighthouse itself.