Once a huge part of British culture, the fishing industry has been in a sad decline for many years; arguably more of a way of life than merely a job. Fishing is one of the more romantic traditional industries, entrenched in a rich history of folk lore, song and legend. Once a job passed down through generations of the same families, the traditional industry struggled and died through a combination of commercial fishing and European quotas.
Bound follows six Devon trawler men as they embark on their final journey, desperate for one last payday. Using just a table and a few chairs for a set, this taught drama manages to transport you way out to sea, producing a claustrophobic and stifling atmosphere. The Bear Trap Theatre Company tells the story of a group of men facing a change to their way of life, whilst dealing with the trials and tribulations of the everyday.
Winner of the Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Festival in 2010, Bound is a remarkable piece of writing by director Jesse Briton. Not only does he manage to capture the lives of trawler men in the present day, he also manages to project the audience out to sea using only a sparse set, clever lighting and minimal musical accompaniment. The acting is excellent, producing a tense atmosphere surrounding a group of men on the edge. Whilst the conflict between them can sometimes be a bit too aggressive, the clever banter and interplay, building up a fragmented portrait of their relationships, works perfectly.
Sea Shanties are interspersed between scenes, which play a dual role of transporting you into a dying culture and allowing for the re-arrangement of the set. They are a wonderful device in what is a tense, funny and bleakly tragic play. As a group of actors, and a theatre company, in their infancy, I feel they will soon be sailing in much bigger waters.