We Live By The Sea is a beautiful and affecting story of love, loss and friendship. As the audience walks into the theatre Katy (Alex Brain) and her imaginary dog, Paul Williams (Lizzie Grace), ask if they can tap our shoes. It’s the first surprise in this immersive work by English theatre company Patch of Blue.
Katy lives by the sea with her sister Hannah (Alexandra Simonet). Their father recently passed away, leaving Hannah as the sole carer for her autistic sister. Struggling under the weight of the responsibility and the sadness of missed teenage years, Hannah is introduced to Ryan (Tom Coliandris) who is also grieving and lost.
Together they form a tender bond that speaks to acceptance and the lessons we can learn from each other. Through their raw grief, Hannah and Ryan show us how we can make new lives for ourselves in the absence of others.
These are emotional and affecting performances from a stellar cast. The production is beautiful with the lighting, staging and live score all considered and complementary. However, there is a question of authenticity that lingers, unresolved, over the show – whose story is this to tell, and is an abled cast the right one to tell it? Nevertheless, this is gorgeous and life-affirming work.