The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Reviews round-up

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the National Theatre’s stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s best-selling novel has opened to five-star reviews at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London. Tickets for The Ocean at the End of the Lane are now booking to May 2022.

Hailed by the Independent as ‘theatre at its best’ and Time Out declares ‘shows like this don’t come along very often’, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of the must-see shows in London’s West End.

The first major stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work, this fantasy novel is a modern myth, where the power of imagination and storytelling transports audiences on a spellbinding and spectacular adventure.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (c) Manuel Harlan

Gaiman’s magical world and the much-loved characters that inhabit it are ‘brought to thrilling life‘ (The Times) on stage in a spectacular, tour de force of imagination and storytelling by an award winning creative team helmed by director Katy Rudd.

Adapted for the stage by Joel Harwood, the production features stunning set design by Fly Davis, costume and puppet design by Samuel Wyer, lighting design by Paule Constable, sound design by Ian Dickinson, magic and illusions direction and design by Jamie Harrison and puppetry direction by Finn Caldwell. Movement direction is by Steven Hoggett, and composition is by Jherek Bischoff.

The cast features James Bamford, Nia Towle, Penny Layden, Charleen Qwaye, Charlie Cameron, Emma Bown, Grace Hogg-Robinson, Kieran Garland, Laura Rogers, Miranda Heath, Nicolas Tennant, Peter Twose, Ruby Ablett, Siubhan Harrison, Tom Mackley, Jeff D’Sangalang.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is booking to May 2022 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London.

Average rating score for this production

The Ocean at the End of the Lane reviews


"Darkness and dreamlike strangeness"

"Capturing the darkness and dreamlike strangeness of Neil Gaiman’s bestselling 2013 novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a pacy fantasy thriller occasionally overloaded by its own ambitious exuberance."


"A thunderous, sometimes terrifying adaptation"

"Joel Horwood’s thunderous adaptation finds wonder even in the most unremarkable of moments."

"While the book excels at conveying the enchantment of the supernatural realm, Katy Rudd’s direction pushes it even further. Fly Davis’s set is a constantly moving, sparky phenomenon."

"Hauntingly memorable, this knockout production is theatre at its best."


"British theatre at its gob-smacking best"

"Young and old alike will be entranced by the return of this illusion-packed Neil Gaiman adaptation"

"Katy Rudd’s production honours every philosophical beat and every pulse-racing thud of the experience, as good as putting us in the shoes of James Bamford’s bashful, inquisitive Boy"


"Only for the brave - screams galore await"


"The National Theatre’s adaptation is even better in the West End"

"The bottom line is, shows like this don’t come along very often. Maybe it’s changed, maybe I’ve changed, but second time out ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ felt bigger, stranger, sadder and more beautiful – I wish I could swim in its twilight waters for longer."


"Neil Gaiman’s monsters will leave you cowering"

"Shapeshifting creatures take centre stage in Katy Rudd’s production that terrifyingly evokes childhood nightmares and family trauma"

"this is a genuine rarity – a show that enthrals all generations without patronising any"

"Pure theatrical magic"

"Weirdly for a show with so many scary moments, the whole of Ocean feels safe – in a good way. Samuel Wyer’s puppets and Jamie Harrison’s illusions delight and confuse in equal measure."

"Horwood has recreated the dreamlike wonderment of Gaiman’s novel, using theatrical rather than literary tricks."

"No other production I’ve seen has captured the experience of childhood, the terror and the beauty – not what actually happened, but what it felt like (which is also what adaptation is about)."


"Magic in the West End"

"It’s a lovely, heartfelt show with a surging narrative thrust, a macabre undertow and some brilliantly evoked, seriously scary monsters. I was captivated."


A magical West End experience

"At times it feels like a genuinely immersive experience – it’s easy to get lost in the world created in this space."

"Its crowning achievement is to convincingly portray a child’s imagination on the stage."

"A potent enchantment"

"Glittering with dark wonder, this National Theatre staging of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel is a bewitching shapeshifter."

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Duke of York's Theatre

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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