Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

17/02/2015 - 20/02/2015

Auckland Fringe 2015

Production Details


Up and coming theatre duo Lucinda Bennett and Luke Wilson are back from 17-20 February, following their sell-out 2013 Fringe season of Wild Beasts. Their new play, It Ends With the Sea, will take you to the seaside, will make you feel as though you are truly there, with the salty, slightly mystical smell of the sea in your nostrils and the never-ending rush of waves in your ears. 

Showing at The Basement as part of the Auckland Fringe, It Ends With the Sea tells the story of four teenage girls who, lured from their homes by the seductive call of the sea, arrive on the same stretch of beach and choose to stay, squatting in an abandoned structure they call castle. But the sea is not benign and on her shores a collection of gifts, beautiful and disturbing, begins to arrive…. 

It Ends With the Sea is a tragedy of Greek proportions, combining teenage girls, orca whales, power, prophecies, the occult, the divine, boxes of tropical fruit and murder. 

It Ends With the Sea plays
Dates:  17th– 20th February, 5.30pm
Venue:  The Basement, Lower Greys Ave Auckland CBD
Tickets:  $18 adult, $15 concession or $10 with a ten trip pass
Bookings: // 0508 iTICKET (484-253)

Auckland Fringe 2015 is an open access arts festival where anything can happen. It provides a platform for practitioners and audiences to unite in the creation of form forward experiences which are championed in an ecology of artistic freedom. The 2015 programme will see work happening all over the show, pushing the boundaries of performance Auckland wide from February 11 to March 1.

Calm, tempestuous, melancholic with a lifeline of humour

Review by Nik Smythe 18th Feb 2015

The capital letters of the title dangle from a cord like strung up seaweed on the right, in answer to the question ‘How does it end?’ strung congruently on the left.  A large calico drape hangs upstage centre, fanned out like a scallop to frame a white shell-encrusted throne, with stacks of wooden crates strewn about and a pile of blankets, quilts and pillows in front.

In low light a booming female voice declaims a sort of dark litany of morbid inevitability, reiterating the ominous message of the hanging words: everything in life and the world ends with the sea.  Once we’re properly clear on this crucial point, the lights shift and Sylvia (Jaya Beach-Robertson) takes her place on the throne.  One of three other girls asleep among the bedclothes, Franny (Sez Niederer), wakes and chats with Sylvia about where they are and how they got here.  

At the outset the discussion is fairly cryptic and mercurial to an outside observer, but it’s evident we’re in a kind of Lord of the Flies castaway situation.  Sylvia is self-appointed queen and the first to disclose where she came from.  Franny often represents the voice of reason in the group, but has much less to say about what has ultimately landed her in this place. 

As the drama unfolds and advances we learn the origins of each young woman: Sophie the faithful ingénue (Emma-Mae Eglington), and Celeste the self-professed clairvoyant (Kate Castle).  Far from being helpless victims, the common link between their backstories is that their arrival here is some kind of self-willed wish fulfilment.  They live in this undisclosed, isolated seaside dwelling with their venerated Goddess, the very sea providing what they need.  As Sylvia has it: “Everything from the sea is beautiful and good!” 

This idealistic precept is inevitably destined to be put to the test.  In the tradition of human-nature-abhors-a-drama-vacuum, cracks of judgment and suspicion are already beginning to show when a fifth young woman washes up on the shore to shake things up even more. Celeste’s prophecy welcomes the arrival of Rumer (Courtney Basset), whereas increasingly grumpy leader Sylvia roundly disapproves. 

As time goes on, allegiances are forged and challenged, secrets are uncovered or confessed, and socio-political morality reaches crisis point, all against the powerful, mournful backdrop of the (off-stage) sea.  Luke Wilson’s direction keeps Lucinda Bennett’s equally emotive and didactic script strongly grounded with truthful performances, and manages to stop short of histrionic melodrama. 

As compelling as I do find the deep melancholia that frequently imbues tales of the sea, the moments of humour sprinkled throughout are a welcome lifeline, keeping our head above the waterline as it were, so as not to drag us down too far into the woeful world of these progressively more wretched young women. 

A fair amount of the action takes place sitting and lying on the floor, which does cause a few sight-line issues for the back row.  Such niggles aside however, this maiden voyage of It Ends With The Sea is a wholly promising first outing. 

Actually, it seems somehow significant, although I couldn’t say why, that the pervasive theme of this work is oceanic rather than nautical, so that the mighty Tangaroa herself is the central focus as opposed to the human race’s maritime technologies.


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