The Tower

Emma Kelly
Wild Elk
Fishing Museum Loft - The Old Net Room

The Tower

In new play The Tower, writer Emma Kelly, creates a dystopian world that has emerged after an apocalyptic-scale flood which has engulfed roads, closed down services and demolished society.

For all her life, Toni has lived with her mother, Fran, in isolation, scavenging for food. They are devoted to one another, but Toni’s resentment at being brought into a grim world that condemns her to a life of unbroken peril and her mother’s inaction to avoid it is an ever-present bone of contention between them.

The death of her mother forces Toni to abandon the only place she has ever known, and, packing her remaining provisions onto a raft, she sets off to find others. Living her new life, she finds history repeats itself on a personal and societal level.

The non-linear narrative provides background to Toni and Fran’s situation through flashbacks, but fails to deliver enough detail to make Kelly’s water-based world credible. The same is true of Toni’s character; it is difficult to believe that such a young woman, home-educated by Fran and raised outside of society as we known it, would have such maturity and insight when faced with collective living.

The text is threaded through with mythological references and a detailed soundscape that includes live song and music from a berimbau, which lend the production an ethereal feel.

Presented in the atmospheric Old Net Room of the Fishing Museum on Brighton’s seafront, the curved rear wall of the loft is used effectively for the projection of images that help conjure the spirit of the action, which concludes upliftingly, albeit the storm clouds of history on loop linger overhead.

Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti

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