Presented at Goodwood Institute Theatre by Flying Penguin Productions, monologues Bitch Boxer by Charlotte Josephine and Sea Wall by Simon Stephens are part of SOLO, an evening of intimate storytelling.

Unfortunately due to illness, Bitch Boxer was cancelled on the evening of review, but Sea Wall went ahead with gusto.

Initially, Sea Wall appears to be a story of joy, family and male bonding, but as the events unfold, a tragedy is revealed that hits you right in the gut.

Sea Wall follows the story of Alex, a man who appears to have a great life: a wife and daughter he adores, a career he loves, and many trips to the south of France to visit his father-in-law, a man he seems to have a close friendship with. As the story progresses it becomes clearer that perhaps there is something not quite right and Alex’s happy façade is a cover for something personally devastating.

Produced by Flying Penguin Productions and held in the small studio at Goodwood Institute Theatre, with the intimate space creating less of a performance and more of a story being shared privately by a stranger baring his soul. The lighting was muted, with minimal to none at times, as well as modest amount of sound and music making the story and performance the stars of the show.

Renato Musolino was superb as Alex, carrying the emotional load of the material with aplomb. The audience got to know Alex intimately in the space of 35 minutes, thanks to the skill in which Musolino was able to convey both Alex’s joy and heartbreak in the limited time he had.

Writing about any performance often requires mentioning details of the show to provide commentary on the various aspects of staging. I had the fortune of seeing Sea Wall without any prior knowledge of the show, making the emotional reveal near the end all the more devastating. To give away more than scant details about Sea Wall would be an injustice to those who will see it in the future. This production certainly complemented to the material and it will be interesting to see both what Flying Penguin Productions and Renato Musolino do next.

SOLO: Bitch Boxer and Sea Wall run until Sunday September 16th. Buy tickets here.