Surfing the Holyland

“This one woman show is a joy to watch, full of humour, fun and the occasional sadness...”

Entering the small 50 person venue we are thrown into the hubbub of Tel Aviv.  We meet Heather (Erin Hunter) who will spend the next hour telling us the story of when she spent 1 year living in Israel and found a passion for surfing. 

This one woman show is a joy to watch, full of humour, fun and the occasional sadness it is a wonder to see the journey Heather took over this year. 

She begins telling us of her life in Ohio, she’s a realtor with a permanent smile plastered on her face. With her husband Zac they have a good life, working on building a family, though due to a loss this has not been a priority for them, instead they enjoy the company of each other and their friends. Zac tells her he’s been offered a job in Tel Aviv for the software security company he works for, so they pack up and off they go! 

This is not quite the adventure Heather had hoped it would be, in the midst of boredom she decides to take up a new hobby and settles on surfing. Meeting a host of colourful people on the way, from the alluring surf shack owner to the surf bro instructor, Heather wonderfully brings each to life with zest. 

Heather’s husband rediscovers his religion leaving Heather feeling like an outsider as a Jewish convert, so when she finds a community in the surf world she becomes like a new woman, loving her life and feeling a sense of purpose again. 

This show is very physical, Heather jumps around the stage with ease and grace. Moving us from a makeshift surfboard, to an office, to a Synagogue, and with little set it is no mean feat but is easily achieved here with just the use of some storage boxes filled with props to set each scene. 

There are 4 brilliantly written songs performed on a ukelele by Heather. Usually in the form of calling out the problems in her life and dealing with the bigger issues in a comedic way. 

It would be nice to see this in a bigger venue with sets and costumes. Heather’s story is one I’m sure many will relate to, one of finding yourself and realising the things you thought you wanted, maybe came from the outside pressures you felt and that it is okay in fact okay to walk away from a future you thought you wanted. 

This show was reviewed at the Brighton Fringe on the 1st June 2023.  Surfing the Holyland plays at the Caravanserai, St Peter's Church North, Brighton, BN1 4GU until the 4th June 2023.  Tickets available here: https://www.brightonfringe.org/events/surfing-the-holyland/

Review written by Rosie Browne

Photo credit: Jonathan Rose/Paul Aitchison

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