Dive into Deep at Auckland Fringe Festival

All the stars have aligned for this production – the hot humid weather and the underground Vault at Q Theatre creates the hot and heavy atmosphere that sets you up for the story to come in Deep.

The simple set and clever effects provide a great platform for the story to unfold as the protagonist Becks, on an underwater mission, finds herself stranded with oxygen and time running out.

It’s a fantastical tale of self-examination which is produced and directed cleverly, and Natasha Daniel is excellent as Becks. She’s well supported by a cast weaving in and out of the scenes as a variety of cheeky and occasionally funny marine counterpoints as Becks questions just what her life is about as she’s facing its impending end.

Fun puppetry and the clever use of light, ably handled by Jen Huang, Edwin Beats, Laura Trundle and Cole Jenkins and the odd nod to Finding Nemo mean the show, despite its claustrophobic setting and storyline, has light points of laughter as well as solemn acceptance of a serious situation.

Ryan Dulieu’s direction keeps the human connection at the heart of the play but bringing in puppets and song perfectly opens up the audience to the wonder of the deep, which is a space, despite being on our doorstep, we know very little about. Becks’ journey from the edge of death to possible redemption is a complex subject that’s wrapped gently in this simple and moving story.

A special note to the sound production, or rather lack of. A well thought-through lack of sound mixed with disembodied voices and song really enriched the show.

This is a little gem waiting to be unearthed as part Auckland’s Fridge Festival, so get along this week and enjoy this Sicko Production, breathe deep and dive in!

DEEP is on at Vault at Q Theatre Feb 25 – Feb 29. Presented by SICKO Productions & Proudly Asian Theatre as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival.

Reviewed by Mike Hales.

4 stars