We Live By the Sea (4 stars)

Big-hearted, exuberant tale about autism that never feels preachy


This article is from 2016.

We Live By the Sea

Patch of Blue theatre company have something quite special going on, as they've proved with several big-hearted Fringe shows in recent years combining touching, poignant stories with exuberant theatricality. And We Live By the Sea is no exception – a show that can bring a tear to the eye while wowing with its homespun stage inventiveness.

Katy lives in a sleepy coastal town with her imaginary dog Paul Williams, and she likes things to be just so – same routine every day. Her sister Hannah struggles to cope with Katy's demands, and when newcomer Ryan – a teenager from the big city with demons of his own – strikes up an unlikely friendship with the two young women, he looks set to disrupt their fragile world.

It's a show about autism, but it never feels preachy. Instead, its themes and quiet revelations about the difficulties and opportunities of the condition are embedded within a story about believable people – and performances, especially from Alex Brain as a relentlessly needy but joy-filled Katy, are vibrant throughout. There are a few things that don't quite hang together – not least why troubled Ryan should miraculously fall in with the two women – but it's a tender, moving hour of warm-hearted theatre.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug (not 15), 4.30pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8).

We Live by the Sea

  • 4 stars

Patch of Blue in association with Greenwich Theatre When Ryan moves from the city to Katie's coastal town, they make a connection that will shake their worlds forever. Playful visual storytelling with a live electronic score about autism, friendship and a very big wave. 'Something special' ★★★★★ (WestEndFrame.com).


Post a comment