Review by Charlotte Craig
45 min | Folk Tale | PG
In this bare-bones, one-man show, written and performed by Jonah Allingham, you can sense the weary tension, paranoia and isolation of a man conscripted to live and work aboard a ship bound for the elusive North-West Passage in 1610.
In Waves is rhythmic, with Allingham’s storytelling (and often his body) rising and falling like the very sea it is set upon. Set to a soft, haunting soundtrack by Lewis Caunter, evocative of Siren mythology, Allingham proves he can engage the audience with his voice, eye contact, and movement. A simple backdrop makes for dramatic light-and-shadow play. Though the backdrop gradually fell apart throughout the duration of the play, it seems fitting, considering the turbulent, emotional dive of the protagonist.
In addition, the small basement venue of the Royal Oak on Laurier provides a cool intimacy akin to the innards of a dimly-lit sea vessel. The patrons can be heard upstairs, which is a bit of a distraction, but it helps if you think of them as rowdy crewmates on the upper deck, adding to the background score.
Allingham, a recent graduate of the Ottawa Theatre School, proves to be a talented and passionate young thespian and playwright. Most impressively, Allingham’s writing is period-appropriate yet timeless, and doesn’t seem heavy-handed like many period dramas. Allingham also proved the ability to not break character when the sexually tense scenes inspired a few giggles from the audience. He is dramatic, engaging, and fluid with his movements that portray a hard life at high seas.
Though In Waves ran under schedule, lasting approximately thirty minutes, Allingham provides a one-man show that captivates and emotes with both his writing and acting.
In Waves by Jonah Allingham is playing at BYOV-B-Royal Oak (161 Laurier Avenue E. — downstairs) on Friday, June 15 at 9:30pm; Saturday, June 16 and Sunday June 17 at 4:00pm; Monday, June 18 through Saturday, June 23 at 6:30pm; and Sunday, June 24 at 4:00pm. Tickets are $10.