Orca By Matt Grinter

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Orca by Matt Grinter at The Weston Studio, Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Mon 4th March - Sat 16th March 2019

Directed by Chloe Masterton

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“Orca is an incisive, unflinching insight into what makes a community tolerate the unthinkable,” Orca tells the story of an isolated village during Midsummer. The village must choose a new Daughter to travel with the fishing boats, she will bless the waters and keep the roaming orcas at bay for another year. Orca follows the tense family dynamics between Fan, her older sister Maggie and their struggling, bereaved father Joshua. Fan dreams of being picked as the next Daughter and follow in her older sister’s footsteps but Maggie insists, she must not go. It’s clear something terrible happened to Maggie on the fishing boats, yet no one in the community will admit it. 

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Orca was first performed at Southwark Playhouse and returned as part of a season of new plays that have been developed by the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. The writer, Matt Grinter, is the winner of the Papatango Prize for New Writing and he has created a thrilling fantasy debut script. Although the dialogue was slightly slow-paced and lengthy at times, generally the dialogue was intense and engaging and was brought to life by the excellent cast. Rosie Taylor-Ritson as Fan and Heidi Parsons as Maggie gave stand out performances. The direction by Chloe Masterton was excellent, a stand out moment was when the antagonist of the play was eventually revealed in an intense confrontation with Maggie. The set design created by Robin Davis was intriguing with broken wooden floorboards as the backdrop and wooden crates used multi-purposely as furniture and prop storage created a nautical theme. 

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Overall, Orca gave an intriguing insight into a fascinating fantasy world that left you wanting more. I can’t wait to see what Matt Grinter brings next to the table and the starring cast will be one to watch. 

 Photography by Craig Fuller. 

Izzie Hensby Comment