Kursk

Kursk is a play attempting to offer real insight into the life of a submariner and the pressures and realities of life below the sea. A gripping new piece of theatre, written by Bryony Lavery and performed by Ut Severis Seges Theatre company, the piece manages to capture onstage that feeling of isolation in the abyss.

Manages to capture onstage that feeling of isolation in the abyss.

The story mainly follows four young lads: a wannabe poet, a new dad, the "Casanova", and the other one, as they use their banterous relationship to help support each other through months of deployment. News travels from home in small fragments and each of them savours the glimpse into what they are missing away from their homes. The captain communicates their mission: to carefully approach Russian submarine Kursk and gather information. All does not go to plan however; as devastating news reaches them, so too is there a tragic end for Kursk and her men.

The script itself is really well-constructed. Be prepared for plenty of submarinal jargon – perhaps 50% of the script in fact – but for me this added to the intensity of the piece. With it comes cacophonous, overlapping conversations and beautiful use of poetry weaved in and out. Taking the time to carefully choreograph the individual movements of each ensemble actor was so clever and added immeasurable amounts to the feel of it.

There are no major criticisms here, though a couple of lines felt a little strained or forgotten, while there were a few wobbly starts as ensemble actors and tech team got to grips with cues. These, I'm positive, will tighten very quickly over the run. This cast can just afford to build more: more tension, more aggression and just letting these characters really breathe.

Reviews by Hannah Lucy Baker

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Inspired by the Russian submarine disaster of August 2000, Bryony Lavery's Kursk imagines the life of submariners deep below the icy seas on the fraying frontline of the cold war. The crew sleep, eat and silently shadow their target, Kursk...