If you think an author’s life is all about being stuck in front of a screen, alone, you’re wrong.
This month I went to the theatre with my family for the first time in two years.
The last show we went to together was the musical ‘Hamilton’. That was quite some while ago.
I chose Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ as our inaugural post-lockdown trip to the West End.
Gaiman is on my list of scifi / fantasy authors I should know more about.
His success has been widely-recognised. But apart from watching the first small screen series of American Gods, and reading various bits and pieces about his life and writing, I’ve not had much exposure to his work.
How was the play? Appropriately dark, filled with magic and very-well acted. The effects and staging were not quite up to the hype in some of the reviews, but they were evocative enough.
For me, the performance was most memorable because it told a powerful story.
Its unsentimental treatment of childhood would fit in well with any gruesome, traditional fairy tale. The dramatic tension comes from an interplay between loss, bravery and fear.
Although not everyone in the tale escapes unscathed (no more spoliers), Gaiman’s underlying message will delight writers, artists, readers and creators everywhere.
That is because, fundamentally, ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ is an eloquent tribute to the redemptive potential of the human imagination.