In Pursuit of Andromeda

Jonathan Blakeley
The Apex
Greenside @ Nicolson Square
to

There is a fascination that will always come from the seas, the deep foreboding eternity that entices as much as it terrifies. But for as long as men have roved the oceans, they've woven tales of supernatural women linked to that power: mermaids, sirens or selkies, whatever they are called, their appearance usually means love, mystery and a dark foreboding for the man who sees them.

Plundering that rich mythological tradition, Jonathan Blakely has constructed a more modern take on this tradition, by setting the tale in the years after The Great War. Here, in a village in the Scilly Isles, Edward, a quiet and lonely fisherman, pulls a strange girl named Annwn from the water and brings her to his home to nurse her back to health.

In short course, she tells him the truth, that she isn't human, is the daughter of a King and she can sing to the fishes to make them fill his nets. However, there is far more to her than at first appears and the same can be said of Edward, who himself has hidden depths and secret pain.

Blakeley has layered the play richly with symbolism and meaning, as even the title and the name Annwn aren't chosen at random and hint at the mythological parallels that can be drawn from the events. The story unfolds in a combination of dialogue with some moments of physical theatre and sprinklings of song throughout.

Both Blakeley, who plays Edward, and Adriana Llabrés as Annwn show themselves to be versatile performers in the skills they display and work well under the capable direction of Lisa Milinazzo, who pulls real emotion from the pair.

The only flaw in the piece is that there's a fragmentary feeling to the story and a slightly repetitive nature to the dialogue, which, ironically for a play so inextricably connected to water, stopped it flowing quite as smoothly as it might have.

This aside, this is a beautiful piece of modern mythology and a heartbreakingly sweet experience.

Graeme Strachan