All at Sea, Theatre Alibi. This is a dramatic rendering of three contemporary, mythical stories written by Daniel Jamieson and presented by Theatre Alibi, the Exeter-based company which has established a solid reputation for itself as provider of theatre for young people within the West Country.
These stories are presented with originality, skill and clarity by Harry Hawkes and Daniel Jamieson. Hawkes displays a virtuosity of comic voices, faces and body postures that reminds one of a young John Cleese. The stories themselves are well conceived and intriguing, and pitched at exactly the right level for their audience.
Story-telling is one of the roots of all theatre and the rapt attention of the audience of 5 to 11-year-olds at Exbourne Primary testified to the enchanting nature of Jamieson's stories. However, the narrative method seemed to be straining at its leash, always wanting to break free and turn itself into a display of pure theatre. Story-telling tends to distance the listener from emotional response and adds weight to objectivity. It may well have been Theatre Alibi's aim to keep things distant, but I couldn't help wishing they would forget they were telling a story and allow the theatre to take over.