A “clever and darkly funny” reimagining of Hamlet
BY LEXI CLARE
The audience enters to an atmosphere that is relaxed and energised; the cast swig from cans and good-naturedly banter with each other, batting a shuttlecock back and forth across a grass turf (and occasionally into the lighting rig). A rainbow-coloured paddling pool takes centre stage and a large inflatable dolphin is suspended from the ceiling.
Set in a middle-American backyard, here comes the tide / there goes the girl is frequently surprising and deliciously weird.
Billed as a reimagining of Hamlet, this darkly comic new play bears little resemblance to Shakespeare’s text, but riffs off the source material in ways that are both satisfying and inventive. Ham’s father has disappeared and Ophelia just won’t get out of the paddling pool. She keeps trying to tell everyone that a storm is coming, but no one believes her.
Frequent allusions to Hamlet serve to layer in dimensions of humour and irony, but the play’s most resonant moments are those that touch on themes largely left unexplored in Shakespeare’s text.
Playwright Nadja Leonhard-Hooper embraces the stickiness of family and acts of love, reframing Shakespeare’s narrative in a way that gives weight to the experience of the female characters. We are constantly reminded that Ophelia has lost her mother and in one poignant scene, Ophelia recalls how she watched her mother shrink, getting smaller and smaller until finally she disappeared.
Perry Goeders delivers a particularly strong performance as Ophelia, driving through monologues with frenetic speed and a haunting intensity. Brenan Dwyer also impresses as Gert, a vision of a vintage pin-up who provides many of the most delightful comedic moments in the show.
here comes the tide / there goes the girl successfully subverts narrative expectations, but this comes at the cost of a clearly articulated narrative. I was never fully sure of what the play was trying to say and remained unconvinced by the conclusion, which ultimately felt too ambiguous to be satisfying.
Nimbly directed by Genevieve Fowler and packed with delicious moments, here comes the tide / there goes the girl is a clever and darkly funny new play, let down by a somewhat muddled ending.
Here Comes The Tide, There Goes The Girl runs until 24 August. For tickets, visit tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/here-comes-the-tide-there-goes-the-girl
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