Erin Hunter’s Surfing the Holyland is a dynamic and fast-paced one-woman show in which she tells the autobiographical story of her year living in Tel Aviv, the colourful cast of characters she met, and the waves she caught.
The themes are universal, the narrative idiosyncratic and Hunter wholly engaging
When her husband was offered a chance to work in Israel, Hunter’s unadventurous Ohio girl took this as a sign to invest in new hobbies; and thus her obsession with surfing – and all it birthed - was born. Sure, we’ve all heard these personal odysseys before, but the themes here are so universal, the narrative so idiosyncratic and Hunter so engaging that it’s all as fresh and sparkling as a dawn surf in the Mediterranean.
Hunter plays a diverse range of characters – as well as some pithy ditties on the ukulele – and throws herself around the stage with abandon as she flings herself onto her surfboard and rearranges her set to flip between locations. It is a piece of great humour and thoughtfulness, with warmth and understanding shown towards the less sympathetic characters and a healthy self-deprecation throughout as the central character grows in confidence and self-belief.
The profundity of the piece lies in its simplicity: there are no big reveals here, and no epic world events. But a life is shifted, shaped, changed and of course, that – to all of us – is the most transformative thing of all.