Creation's Boatman Town

The outpouring of astonished laughter at Tap Social’s White House pub during last night’s performance of Boatman Town bodes well for a good run. Creation’s premiere of Glyn Maxwell’s contemporary morality play READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH HIM HERE is not only thoroughly entertaining but even better for its informal surroundings. 

The play tells the stories of six sun-soaked and slightly drunken holiday-goers, in an ‘English pub’ on a strange, unidentified holiday island. 

Boatman Town

A thoroughly contemporary and immersive take on the medieval morality play Everyman, the cast and director have clearly relished the challenge by using every corner of this intimate theatre space, Director Helen Eastman brazenly placing the cast casually at pub tables next to the audience, allowing the White House to merge seamlessly into this utterly immersive performance.

Flitting between moments of well-crafted comedy and unsettling tragedy, Creation held its audience’s attention keenly

It’s unnervingly close at times, as the morally unsettling story unfolds around us, and moments in which the challenges of performing in a civvy venue are clear, but this innovative performance easily overcame those difficulties.

The cast play the various English tourists – a brilliant and unexpected take on the archetypes of the original Everyman play. In true morality play tradition, there lies a dilemma at the heart of Boatman Town, as Yvonn (played with great enthusiasm by Anna Tolputt) hears a child crying in the distance and it soon becomes clear to both her and the audience that something bad is, or is about to, happen. We can’t quite tell just yet. 

BOATMAN. Nick Osmond & Ailsa Joy

And so this tragicomic dilemma begins to unravel as Yvonn and her holiday companions are forced to decide what to do with this child, with life defining consequences. Flitting between moments of well-crafted comedy and unsettling tragedy, Creation held its audience’s attention keenly. 

Eastman directs Maxwell’s text with a palpable passion, aided by a talented Creation cast featuring Anna Tolputt, Haley Murray, Ailsa Joy, Herb Cuanalo, Miranda Foster, Nicholas Osmond and Samuel Rayner.

Boatman Town

Working seamlessly together, they appear thoroughly at ease. Murray is electrifying as Yvonn’s flawed but deeply funny companion and Osmond portrays his character Nick’s gradual unravelling with a sharp edge and darkness of humour.

If at moments the performance appears a little rough around the edges (to be expected of a performance in an unconventional space) this does not detract from it being a thoroughly enjoyable show.

The ambition behind Boatman Town must be applauded, and if you’re in search of a night of uproarious laughter and tricksy tragedy, make your way to one of the many drinking venues where Boatman Town will be performed over the next few weeks. 


Boatman Town

Remaining Performance dates and venues for Boatman Town

Feb 26 – The Lamb Inn, Bicester

Feb 27 – The Seven Stars, Marsh Baldon

Feb 28 – Isis Farmhouse

March 8-10 – James Street Tavern

Book here: