Jethro Compton presents Sirenia

Jethro Compton

Jethro Compton Productions

C nova

From 05 August 2015 to 31 August 2015

Rating: ***

Review by Graeme Strachan

Jethro Compton is rapidly proving himself to be an important voice in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival´╗┐.

Over the last few years, his name has become synonymous with well devised theatre, often confined in a small but intricately dressed venue, and performed with emotional verve and artistry. His new play, Sirenia, feels like the distillation of that stylistic design choice to it's natural conclusion.

Taking place in the highest attic room of the C nova venue, at the top of the spiraling tower and a winding and cramped staircase, the tiny and cramped venue where Sirenia takes place lends itself an easy sense of atmosphere before the play has even begun.

The small room is lit by a small bulb and a pair of shuttered windows, while the sound design immerses the audience and evokes the sense of being in a lonely lighthouse´╗┐ perfectly. It's unfortunate then that the play itself, while always well acted by Rob Pomfret and Evie Tyler´╗┐, never quite lives up to the brilliance of the location.

The play centres around lonely lighthouse keeper Isaac and his reaction to pulling a half-drowned and dying young girl from the rocks during a sudden and terrible storm. Through their interactions, we learn a little about his mental state, and the reasons behind his hiding away from the rest of society.

The sprinkling of Celtic mythology and old Cornish folk songs adds a wonderful flavour to the piece as well, but, while it's an experience that is well worth having, the final impression is one of subtle brevity and depths left unplumbed.

Rather, this should stand as an example to other theatre companies of how to stage a play and how the correct use of location, set dressing and sound design can itself whip up an atmosphere before ever an actor graces the stage.