One of the things that The Fringe Festival reminds us of every year is how much acting talent Winnipeg possesses. Some of this talent only appears at The Fringe, but much of it is available all year round. Theatre by the River is one such company.* This company has been producing challenging and entertaining theatre works for the last decade, and their 2015 Fringe show Sea Wall, by Simon Stephens, is no exception.
Sea Wall: Show TImes
Sea Wall draws us into the life of Alex. In the beginning it is a life almost anyone would want to be part of. Yet Alex’s life is not as it appears. What ensues is an intense, look into the life of a man whose world is changing in ways that he is not prepared for. Along the way if also forces the audience to ask questions of themselves and the things that shape the way they live.
A large part of what makes Sea Wall so compelling is the performance of Rodrigo Beilfuss as Alex. Told as a monologue the story requires the use of the audience’s imagination for scene setting. Beilfuss does a great job of painting word pictures that allow you to imagine yourself being in the story’s various locales.
From the beginning Beilfuss projects a warmth and likability that draws the audience into his story. He does this so thoroughly and completely that, as the story turns darker, you realize you couldn’t abandon it even if you wanted to. On top of this he creates empathy that guarantees you won’t want to.
The play is only 30 minutes in length. This is a good thing. Given the intensity of the subject matter and the depth of Beifuss’s performance a longer play might be too overwhelming.
Sea Wall is must-see Fringe.
*Make sure you check out Theatre by the River’s Wine and Words next spring.