Review - Touching the Void at Royal & Derngate, Northampton
It's an interesting experiment to run with the film Jaws, I imagine that if you took out its much parodied soundtrack that it wouldn't have half the impact that it did.
And that's how I felt about Touching the Void at the Royal & Derngate, the story of two climbers who get trapped on a dangerous mission scaling the mountains in Peru.
A combination of the soundscape and the acting sells the situation incredibly convincingly despite the lack aside from a few tables and a climbing frame. But you are led to believe that everything is incredibly perilous despite the lack of obvious threat on the stage.
The heart of the story is arguably more Sarah, the sister of one of the climbers who asks the question which would be on most people's lips. Why would you go climbing? And after a bit of a sweary rant, she seems to understand successfully why people do it. Although as a personal note, I'm still not quite sure why anyone would risk life and limb to go and do these things. But that might be because I'm much more comfortable as a couch potato in high adrenalin situations.
Fiona Hampton as the more relatable aspect of the show is sufficiently questioning without appearing to be dumb as the one person not speaking in the jargon. Josh Williams as the stranded climber is very determined in his portrayal, clinging on to life in impossible circumstaces.
Edward Hayter as Simon is resigned as the other climber who struggles with the explanation of the thrills of climbing while Patrick McNamee's Richard is the link between the normality of Sarah's world and the extreme one of Joe and Simon.
The production is pretty good, the acting is excellent and the story is compelling to watch. But I can't sadly help but feel why would anyone do this. Especially when you know that is based on a real life story.
Touching the Void can be seen at Northampton's Royal & Derngate until Saturday October 20. Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk