4 stars

Based on the real journal entries, 11 Miles follows Captain Scott’s journey to the South Pole with his four companions: Evans, Wilson, Bowers, and Oates. The audience comes to understand the meaning behind “11 miles” during the play as they hear about the tragedies that struck the team on the way back.

Presented by our very own Imperial College DramSoc, the intense physical and mental hardships endured by the original explorers were captured effectively by the actors: Hamish Macdonald, Lucy Chandler, Alfred Engedal, Alex Jones and Annie Knight. Throughout the play, each character reveals their own insecurities and internal conflicts; the acting in those personal scenes were incredible. From Scott feeling responsible for their unexpected circumstances; and Wilson lack of self-belief to Oates’ homesickness, each scene exhibited a genuine human side of the characters as they let out the pent up emotions. The yelling and disputes within the team also manifested the level of stress and their flawed and human response to the stress they were under was something the audience could really relate to, some of them with tears in their eyes.

Despite taking place in a small meeting room, the lighting, designed by Kacper Neumann, was clever and compensated for the limited stage space they had. The scenes outside and inside the tent were differentiated by lighting up the whole stage and spotlighting the tent respectively. The sound effects, designed by Harman Chang, further enhanced this transition, as they altered the volume of the windstorm which made the audience feel as if they were sat inside a warm tent or stood outside in the extreme cold with the team. The deafening storm added to the tension on-stage but unfortunately drowned out Scott’s last few lines.

The costumes, props and set design by Kay Parker-Hunt and Becky Rogers were also well thought out. The few cans of beans had no labels on and looked rusted, emphasising the fact that they were the last sources of food the team had left. Winter hats and gloves were put on and taken off every time they left and returned to the tent. The tent, set in the middle of the stage, though minimal, played a critical role, portraying the line between life and death for the team.

Overall the production retold the story of the Terra Nova Expedition in an authentic and emotionally touching way. Highlighting the personal struggles of the team members, while also focusing on the bonds between and sacrifices for each other, 11 Miles was a professional production by DramSoc. I hope we will have more opportunities to see their talent in the future.