Further Than the Furthest Thing

Reviewer's Rating

Strikingly set in the round and adhering to a stylised minimalist set design, this revival of Zinnie Harris’ hit play is truly thought provoking. A theatrical account of the complex lives of the inhabitants of Tristan de Cunha and their transition from Island life to urban England, Further Than the Furthest Thing does not shy away from hefty denouement or captivating dramatic peaks. Directed by Jennifer Tang, and set on a sporadically spinning stage this play grapples with the perils of urbanisation, ambition, and most importantly, contextual morality. The production seeks to demonstrate how via ‘civilisation’, we as a society have unencumbered ourselves of true ethical and existential challenges. Rather we focus not on the greater good of society, perhaps even at the cost of those we love, but rather on our own myopic desires.

Jenna Russell particularly shines as Mill, accurately encapsulating the parochial and unsophisticated nature of island life, and also the strength and acumen it can imbue. While Gerald Kyd as Mr Hansen blatantly fulfils the contrary trickster capitalist archetype, replete with magic tricks, a tan, and baby blue suit. Relationships lie at the core of this play, but in key developments one perhaps could feel a greater connection and chemistry between actors. The play covers material promptly, but that material is not always linked to the cathartic arc, which at times feels laboured.

Members of the cast watch the action unfold even when not involved in the action, and they creep ever closer throughout. This appears to represent the contrast of island life to the claustrophobic nature of post-industrial England. Further Than the Furthest Thing is a play which will leave you thinking, questioning the ethics and construction of the world we inhabit. It is a play which has been assiduously thought through, with continual foreshadowing, image repetition and dramatic signposting. It synthesises glittering scenes of oceanic sky’s and perhaps the idea that modernity, urbanisation and materialism, can comfort but simultaneously damage us.