FRINGE REVIEW – Where the White Stops

*****

By Jen McGregor

An imaginative, cleverly performed play that feels like a folk tale, Where the White Stops is the story of Crab, a young girl living in a frozen who sets off to find out what lies within and beyond the White. Antler Theatre’s four energetic actors throw themselves into their roles, building up atmosphere with some excellent singing and vocal sound effects. They are also accomplished physical performers, creating a convincing picture of Crab’s long, icy journey with very few props and no set, relying simply on their own bodies.

The material itself has its flaws, particularly the lack of a sense of danger. We are told that the White is a perilous place, but there’s little to demonstrate it for most of the piece. The villainous King whom Crab and her friends must defeat is thinly drawn and too easy to overcome, and the Beast that roams the White is distinctly short on menace, despite being set up as a major threat. It certainly isn’t a potent enough enemy to justify the consequences of the climactic scene, and the play’s earlier scenes are so light in tone that the moment of tragedy comes out of nowhere, leaving Crab’s character development to ring false at the very end.

It feels as if the play would benefit from the extra breathing space provided by a longer running time, and there’s no doubt that this talented company could keep the younger members of their audience enthralled for an extra fifteen or even thirty minutes. As it stands it is a highly entertaining and enjoyable show, but with a bit more development it has the potential to be truly excellent.

Where the White Stops runs at Underbelly until 25 August (not 14th) at 14.40. Running time one hour.

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