Further Than the Furthest Thing, Young Vic | Review

Saturday 18 March 2023

Further Than the Furthest Thing
Young Vic

The Young Vic's current revival production of Further Than the Furthest Thing is somewhat adventurous, with some redeeming qualities; but ultimately it's piece that falls short of providing any truly moving or effective moments. The production has some visually stunning aspects and some really impressive performances, however, the pacing and overall coherence leaves much to be desired, and has you exiting the theatre feeling somewhat dazed.

Zinnie Harris’ 1999 play tells the tale of a remote island who's peaceful world is upended by the evils of the wider world. Based on the 1960s history of Tristan da Cunh, the source material provides some interesting insights but the script itself is disjointed, and often makes the story hard to follow. The themes of colonialism and displacement are important, and there are some comments which really stand out, but the overall execution lacks depth and nuance and keeps any solid points from being made. The transitions between scenes are also clunky and disrupt the flow of the play, leading to a sense of confusion and continual detachment from the characters.

Furthermore, the sound design and lighting choices are often distracting and do not add to the overall experience. At times, the sound effects are overly loud and jarring, while the lighting feels gimmicky and unnecessary. Soutra Gilmour's set offers some moments of visual excitement. The clever projections make the piece feel almost like an immersive art installation and the revolve allows all angles to be shown to the audience, but there's never enough oomph to really bring the show to life.

That's not to say the performers don't do a solid job with what they've been given. Jenna Russell especially gives a captivating performance, bursting with charm and charisma. Gerald Kyd is mysterious as Mr Hansen and Cyril Nri has some of the best character development, as well as great chemistry with Russell.

Overall, Further Than the Furthest Thing has some admirable aspects, but they are very much outweighed by the weaknesses in the production. It's truly a tale of two acts, which could work on their own but the general lack of cohesion really hinders the strong messages trying to be portrayed. While it may appeal to some theatre-goers, I personally found it underwhelming and would not recommend it as a must-see performance.

Reviewed on Friday 17th March 2023
photo credit: Marc Brenner

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}