The Dukes presents
The Ockerbys On Ice
Friday 30 September 2016 - Saturday 22 October 2016
review by Alan Chard
The Ockerbys On Ice is a play about an ordinary couple who win a second chance at life thanks to cryonic* freezing. Written by Debbie Oates, who is a scriptwriter for Coronation Street, it was first aired as a radio play on Radio 4 in 2004 and developed into a stage play for The Dukes. It attempts to explore some of the moral, ethical and spiritual considerations when a married couple are separated by 'legal death' possibly to be reunited at some indeterminate future date.
I don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment of the way that the story unfolds by describing the plot in detail. However, what can safely be said is that as you might expect from one who writes for Coronation Street, there is a surfeit of emotional content with a sprinkling of laughter, but deep and sinister undercurrents that lurk ready to burst through the surface at regular intervals.
The first half moves slowly, and it is here that, in my opinion, the provenance or long gestation time of the work shows through as a detailed explanation of resuscitation and then cryogenic preservation are given. Nowadays, few of us need that. Viv Ockerby asks what I thought was the most thought-provoking question about where Dennis' soul will be. In our secular 21st century such a question will likely fail to be understood in the minds of many.
The doctor overseeing the whole cryonic process comes across as really scary with medical ethics that may have been approved, but certainly of a less-than-acceptable standard from a patient's point of view.
Great performances from all the characters.
If you like raw emotional content played out before you then you will really like this play. There are moments to make you smile, laugh - but only briefly before the next wave of serious emotion breaks over you.
Alan Chard, October 2016
* Cryonics (from Greek κρύος 'kryos-' meaning 'cold') is the low-temperature preservation (usually at -196°C) of people who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that resuscitation and restoration to full health may be possible in the far future. Source: Wikipedia
The Dukes video trailer for The Ockerbys On Ice
Production photos of The Ockerbys On Ice