Following bountiful critical success in Liverpool last year, Manchester-based theatre company Box of Tricks is reviving its production of Narvik to tour nationwide. Billed as a ‘new play with songs’, rather than a musical, from the outset this production appears to be challenging perceptions and finding new means of communication.
Set during World War II, Narvik is a story of worlds colliding: a Liverpudlian man meets a Norwegian woman; live folk music meets new scriptwriting; reality meets fiction; and memory meets dream. Four characters, over one tumultuous summer, experience the war through love, guilt, heroism and betrayal.
Award-winning playwright and celebrated singer-songwriter Lizzie Nunnery (Intemperance, Liverpool Everyman, 2007; The Swallowing Dark, Liverpool Playhouse Studio, 2011; Monkey Love, Channel 4, 2009) encompasses tales by naval veterans, including her own grandfather, with her combined creative outlets to ‘do much more than present history onstage.’ (Nunnery)
Joe Shipman, Lucas Smith and Nina Yndis comprise the three-strong cast. Accompanied by a host of live musicians, the compact cast and crew are led by the Box of Tricks joint Artistic Director and co-founder, Hannah Tyrell-Pinder.
Beyond their Northwest origins, Box of Tricks pride themselves on creating theatre that tackles ambitious and daring concepts with heartfelt sincerity. Promising to challenge, stimulate and capture audience’s attention, above all they aim to entertain. Narvik forms part of the company’s 10th anniversary season, celebrating a decade of seeking out the best new talent and undiscovered playwrights.
Critics called the original 2015 run ‘thrillingly enigmatic’ (The Guardian), ‘compelling, at times almost poetic’ (Liverpool Echo), and ‘a skilful piece of artistic undertaking’. (Liverpool Sound and Vision) Since then, the Director and Playwright have claimed to ‘delve deeper’ (Tyrell-Pinder) to create ‘an even more exciting version of the show’ (Nunnery). This rebirth has some big shoes to fill, entirely of its own making.
With support from Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse e&P Talent Fund, Arts Council England, PRS For Music Foundation, Leche Trust and Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, Narvik will be touring the UK from the 31st of January until March 25th. Opening in Manchester and closing in London, the production will be hosted at 14 different locations nationwide (including Leeds and Harrogate in March).