After a small joint hiatus, it was lovely to return to the Etcetera Theatre as a pair. We took our favourite seats (the back row bench, on the left) and prepared for the show to begin.
Into the Deep follows the intergenerational struggles faced by a Cornish family in the face of financial depravity. The show began with a bang – a visually striking movement sequence, paired effectively with flashy lighting and time appropriate music. However, this was busy and chaotic, and did set the tone for the rest of the narrative. Kim urged me to stay with it, and as usual, her patience paid off as the story did become clearer throughout.
The address of intergenerational conflicts was clear, well rounded and well presented. At times it was comic, but it was mostly tense and bleak. As was the majority of the narrative. There were vibes of a Cornish Billy Elliott, but without the positive ending which makes Billy Elliott worth the while. I’m not saying that to be good theatre needs a happy ending – lots of spectacular shows are tragedies – but the lack of any light relief moments after the first 10 minutes made a lot of the show quite difficult to watch. What made it even harder to witness was the immense quantities of physical and emotional abuse that occurred throughout. Some of these parts made me feel deeply uncomfortable, and I would suggest a little trigger warning at some point before the show.
I can commend the angle the piece took; showing a story that is equally relevant as many others shown more frequently in fringe theatre, but not so often seen simply due to its location. And if there was ever a place for it to be shown it probably should be at the Camden Fringe, since London is a melting pot for nationwide cultural diversity – and this story rightfully has its home there as much as a local one. I just think this show took on one sub-plot too many, and didn’t employ comedic relief when it was needed. But, well done for an interesting concept, Popcorn!