Wednesday, September 27

Corrina, Corrina – Everyman Theatre

Even allowing for a couple of spiced rum punches in the interval, I have to say, there is nothing better after a play than hearing repeated comments of Brilliant and Amazing.

So, you may have wondered about the appeal of this tale, the only woman working as Safety Officer on a container ship heading to Singapore, encountering sexism and racism, for a start – but there are plenty of comical moments, and karaoke. with the music of Muse, Dolly Parton and of course, the eponymous title, sound overall is most effective, predominately building up the tension as well as helping convey the sense of being aboard ship and highlighting emotions and actions. That said, it is sometimes perhaps too haunting, implying the supernatural. And when sinister, with the frequent references to pirates, you are bound to assume that an attack on the ship will be the climax, although, in a sense, that is the case. Unfortunately, in the final scene, it is difficult to make out all of the dialogue. Similarly, although the choreography is well done, suggesting for example, the monotonous routine of the crew’s chores, sometimes the entire cast does a lot of coming and going, for no apparent purpose, usually in the dark, on both sides of the stage.

Photo: Helen Murray

But the set – imposing indeed, and detailed; a moveable feast, taking us around the ship: bridge; captain’s quarters; cabins; mess – and the Citadel, a supposedly safe place. Amazingly, it gives the impression both of something massive, then cramped and confined, rather more successfully than a crew of thousands (possibly) being represented by the three officers and the three Filipinos. One of the former turns out to be Corrina’s ex-boyfriend, Will, who does not care for her attempts at friendship with the latter, treated with equanimity by the serious, fair-minded Rizal (Angelo Paragoso) and spurned by the hostile, rebellious Rafael (Martin Sarreal) but taken up rather too eagerly by volatile Angelo (James Bradwell), whose story makes up the sub plot.

The play excels at maintaining tension, from the whole business of running what the well-meaning if ineffectual captain (David Crellin, as a ‘progressive dinosaur’, sort of) fondly refers to as a happy ship, to the complex relationships. And the threat of invasion. So, we are easily convinced something bad is going to happen but in a clever twist, the plot is concerned with an event from a couple of years before and the repercussions, enhanced with references to the mythical story of the sea monster, Scylla.

And Laura Elsworthy also excels, a heroine, whether tough professional and one of the boys seemingly, or somebody having to deal with trauma, past and present. Mike Noble as Will does a good job portraying somebody so thoroughly unlikeable, a boorish clown, the kind of man who appears totally genuine and convincing yet falls back on words such as ‘banter’ or suggestions that other people have mental health problems. And most shockingly of all, as you will see, claims ‘he doesn’t remember’.

Not surprisingly, playwright Chloë Moss has been interviewed by The Guardian about this powerhouse production. And apologies, but cannot resist – a thriller so good, they had to name it twice.

Playing until 4th June,

Reviewer: Carole Baldock

Reviewed: 23rd May 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★