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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Five reasons why The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a masterclass in imaginative storytelling

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel is the latest page-to-stage adaptation that's set to take over London, with tickets now on sale for the play's West End transfer coming to the Duke of York's later this year. There's no stone unturned in Joel Horwood's science-fiction survival play, where magical worlds and fantastical creatures come alive in sleepy, rural England. Here's why you'll want to be the first to visit The Ocean at the End of the Lane when the show transfers to the West End.

British playwright Joel Horwood has adapted the award-winning book

In 2013, Gaiman's ethereal novel became a literary bestseller, taking the top spot in the New York Times' best-selling list for that year. It's a partially-autobiographical book set close to where Gaiman grew up, following a man who travels back in time to his 12th birthday and has to fight for his life with the help of his childhood friend.

The novel's brought to life on stage in a creative adaptation by Joel Horwood. Horwood's written original plays including All The Little Things We Crushed, last seen at the Almeida Theatre with Zawe Ashton and Richard Bremmer. But he's no stranger to changing up literary works, previously adapting Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. Having received an Olivier nomination for best new play, this adaptation of The Ocean at the End of the Lane combines the thrilling parts of Gaiman's book, along with magical moments that can only happen at the theatre.

You'll visit an eighties-inspired wonderland

Fans of science-fiction shows like Stranger Things and Doctor Who will love delving into this underworld too, with spellbinding sets to rival the small and silver screens. Theatregoers are taken back on a trip to the 1980s, thanks to Paule Constable's Olivier Award-nominated lighting opening up the fantasy land. There's an acclaimed creative team helping bring Gaiman's imaginative book to life on stage too, with a team of puppeteers and Jamie Harrison as the show's magic and illusions director and designer too, previously working on spells in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. So wherever adventures lie in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, you can expect to venture into locations that defy description.

It could be the next 'Curious Incident'

Every so often, a stage adaptation not only raises the profile of the book that it's inspired by, but the production becomes a theatrical phenomenon too. That's happened for National Theatre productions before, including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which heads to the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre this Christmas. With adults and children alike wowed by the theatre magic that's conjured in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, this play is set to go down in history as a must-see theatrical event.

Performances sold out at the National 

After it was first announced that The Ocean at the End of the Lane would play in the National's Dorfman Theatre, theatregoers were already looking forward to their chance to step into Gaiman's make-believe world. The show played for just seven weeks, receiving a four and five-star reviews from publications such as The Telegraph and The Guardian and Josie Walker earning an Olivier Award nomination for best supporting actress in a musical. It's currently set to play a 14-week engagement at the Duke of York's, allowing audiences from far and wide to experience this other-worldly play.

It's a hauntingly beautiful play that will stay with you

With a spooky story and plenty of mystical goings-on around every corner, the lives of those in The Ocean at the End of the Lane are sure to stay in the hearts and minds of West End audiences. From creepy creatures bursting on to stage to the tearjerking scenes between family and friends, it's an enchanting production to remember. There's a guided age recommendation of 12 and over, but it's a moving, magical story that's unlike anything the West End has ever seen, so be sure to witness this unbelievable survival quest.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is at the Duke of York's Theatre from 31st October.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane tickets are available now.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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