Sea Sick

Sea Sick is a beautifully simple and affecting piece of storytelling about climate breakdown and the oceans - and about one woman's mission to understand the damage that's being done to our seas. It's an enchanting experience and worth seeing for the seasoned climate activist and the eco-novice alike.

A beautifully simple and affecting piece of storytelling about climate breakdown and the oceans

Alanna Mitchell isn't a climate scientist, an environmental campaigner, or a marine conservationist - she doesn't even like the water. And yet, somehow, while researching a book on Darwin, she is drawn into a prolonged investigation the biggest story of our age: climate change. The show is a beautifully told story of this investigation - the adventures, conversations with scientists, and personal reflections which she has along the way. From coral reef spawnings to deep-sea submarine dives to landlocked Canadian prairies, the scenes are seamlessly stitched together to create the arc of an elegant narrative.

Mitchell is a captivating storyteller. She projects an image of warm, sincerity and occasional mischief and, despite announcing that she is not an actor, she delivers the whole performance with great poise and stage presence. The whole show is written with an understated elegance, the language carefully chosen to be both unpretentious and graceful. You could listen to her stories for hours.

The set is a minimal affair: a chalkboard and a tall table carrying a jug and a glass of water. All the focus is on her.

The ecological theorist Timothy Morton has coined the term 'hyper-objects' to describe phenomena, like climate change, which are so vast, sprawling and dispersed in time and space that you cannot hold all of them in your mind at the same time - and therefore they become difficult to conceptualise. Mitchell is wrestling with a similar problem: How to tell a socio-ecological story on a scale which is simply too big to grasp. Sea Sick is in part a story about how to communicate science; Mitchell herself is struggling to make sense of what the huge volumes of data she is presented with means and how to communicate them to the public in a way that will inspire action.

It's painful at times (the image of a terrified baby octopus climbing up the ropes of a fishing boat in order to escape the unbearably acidic sea we have created is I found particularly heart-breaking) but it never feels accusatory or guilt-tripping. Mitchell only briefly discusses the solutions needed to address the mess of climate change, but when she does she stresses that the answer must lie in collective, government-led change and that getting hung-up on individual lifestyle choices is ultimately self-defeating.

Oh, in case I've made it sound too sombre and poignant, it’s also worth mentioning that it's really funny!

Reviews by Nuri Syed Corser

Summerhall

Green & Blue

★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Play Before Birth

★★★
ZOO Playground

Landscape (1989)

★★
Summerhall

Who Cares

★★★★
Summerhall

Like Animals

★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Sea Sick

★★★★

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

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.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The ocean contains the switch of life. Not land, not the atmosphere. The ocean. And that switch can be turned off. The Theatre Centre presents Sea Sick, Alanna Mitchell’s critically acclaimed production about climate change, and the state of the global ocean, which has toured Canada and the world. Experience this powerful story in which Mitchell uses science and delicate wit to tell us about her journey to the bottom of the ocean, the demons she discovered there, and her hope for the future. 'Terrifying, laugh-out-loud funny, and ultimately hopeful, Mitchell's Sea Sick is a must-see' (Vancouver Observer).

Most Popular See More

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets