Theatre review: Silence of the Sea at Trafalgar Studios

11:55 21 January 2013

Finbar Lynch, Leo Bill and Simona Bitmaté in The Silence of the Sea at Trafalgar Studios. Picture: Simon Kane

Finbar Lynch, Leo Bill and Simona Bitmaté in The Silence of the Sea at Trafalgar Studios. Picture: Simon Kane

© simonkanephotography.co.uk 2013

Intriguing adaptation of Vercors’ book set in occupied France

SILENCE OF THE SEA Trafalgar Studios, Whitehall, SW1

Four stars

Silence and the power it commands is the theme of this play, which tells the story of the illusion of humanism in a world of hatred.

Anthony Weigh’s adaptation of Vercors’ book examines an excruciating dilemma faced by both the occupier and the occupied in France during the Second World War.

An old man and his niece show resistance against the German occupiers by not speaking to the soldier assigned to their house in a small village by the sea. Powerless to turn him away, the old man and the young girl resist him with silence – a silence that becomes their most potent weapon.

A play that focuses on silence would seem challenging to say the least, but this version of the book, which became a symbol of resistance, manages to cast new light on this story of the enduring power of the human spirit.

The German officer attempts again and again to connect with his unwilling hosts, in a series of monologues: reflections on his life, personal stories, philosophy, music.

Deluded by the Nazi propaganda of the time, thinking the army is there to build and create a brotherhood with the French, it becomes clear to the initially condescending soldier that the real goal of the German army is to exploit. And simultaneously his personality becomes more brittle and uncertain.

Leo Bill is excellent as the sensitive but naïve soldier. Finbar Lynch plays the part of the old man, who narrates to us his version of the event. Meanwhile Simona Bitmaté takes on her role of his niece. Although she does not have a word to say until the play is drawing to a close, the power of Bitmaté’s performance comes from her elegant silence throughout.

An intriguing take on this story of occupation and resistance, in all its forms.

* Silence of the Sea is at Trafalgar Studios until February 2. Visit www.atgtickets.com to book.

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 15:01
The Back to the Future preview of Secret Cinema has been cancelled

Secret Cinema have cancelled their Back to the Future events until July 31.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:49
The two parts of the chair were inspired by the curves of an anonymous male model [Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker][Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker]

A London designer has created a unique chair designed to look, feel and smell like human skin.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:50
Planned engineering works could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Renault Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

The Week subscription offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more