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Play billed as 'theatre for the Netflix generation' must go on your watch-list in Birmingham

With its Stranger Things-style posters and trailers Ocean at the End of the Lane hopes to bring the 'Netflix generation' into the theatres. But whether you have been inside a theatre before or not, this is one you will definitely want to add to your watch list while it is at The Alex in Birmingham.

Ocean at The End of the Lane
Ocean at The End of the Lane

It comes from the mind of Neil Gaiman who - if you have ever watched American Gods or The Sandman - you will know has a pretty marvellous and sometimes terrifying imagination. But the cast and crew from the National Theatre have brought his magical world to life in spectacular style here.

From the outset this was a gripping trip through the realms of fantasy where the lines of the real world and magical worlds are blurred. But just like Stranger Things it is also about family and memories as much as anything else and will put you through the wringer of emotions, from being on the edge of your seat to laughing and perhaps even shedding a tear.

As the blurb puts it, the synopsis is this: "Returning to his childhood home, a man finds himself standing beside the pond of the old Sussex farmhouse where he used to play. He's transported to his 12th birthday when his remarkable friend Lettie claimed it wasn't a pond, but an ocean – a place where everything is possible.

"Plunged into a magical world, their survival depends on their ability to reckon with ancient forces that threaten to destroy everything around them."

Cue all manner of stage craft that envelopes you in Gaiman's world and like a magic show, at times leaves you asking yourself 'how did they do that?'

The cast includes a familiar face in the shape of Charlie Brooks. And if you thought Janine from EastEnders was evil, wait until you see a shape-shifting, teleporting super evil version that can do far worse things than she ever did on Albert Square.

All joking aside, Brooks is top-drawer in her role as Ursula and is involved in some of the most visually spectacular scenes of the play.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane's Stranger Things-style poster

But there really is no weak link in the entire cast that includes: Trevor Fox as Dad, Millie Hikasa as Lettie, Keir Ogilvy as Boy, Laurie Ogden as Sis, Finty Williams as Old Mrs Hempstock and Kemi-Bo Jacobs as Ginne Hempstock.

They were all brilliant in the opening night in Birmingham on Tuesday where they were met with rapturous applause at the end of the play after a truly spellbinding show.

Director Katy Rudd said: “We hope we have created something that is both profound and visually exciting that will appeal, not only to regular theatre audiences, but also to younger people from the ‘Netflix generation’ who might not have been to the theatre before.”

Well it's a big tick for Katy and her talented team there.

It runs until Saturday at The Alex.

Tickets can be booked via

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