Review: Rime of the Second Sister, Online by 45North
3.0Overall Score
Listen to the audio version here.

This interactive audio journey brought to you by 45North, accompanied by Laura Frances Heitzman’s playful and vibrant illustrations, takes participants on a tumultuous journey unveiling the many vicissitudes of life. This apt piece comes at the right time with many people struggling to adapt to the unprecedented current social climate. Anxiety and depression are part of many people’s day-to-day battles post-pandemic, with many people struggling to find their feet within social and inter-personal environments. 

We meet sisters Eliza and Riley who are eager to occupy themselves this summer day by fighting a Dragon, battling a treacherous sea and shunning an evil witch. Yet, what may initially seem a light-hearted adventure journey manifests into a sensitive and meaningful metaphor for the importance of mental health awareness.

Rime of the Second Sister sheds light on how anxiety and depression can affect people, both young and old. Explored sensitively yet unapologetically, Jessica Rose McVay hits the nail on the head with this well-balanced choose-your-own styled piece. The multifarious nature of the work means participants are free to travel a different journey to their last and hopefully take different lessons from this subtle stand against cerebral insularity. It also offers a comforting perspective on accepting that which you cannot change and diving into that which you can.

The piece would not be as successful in immersing its audiences however, without the sensational, almost binaural sound engineered by Tony Gayle. The soundscape is immense and rather unexpected; it uplifts and endorses the story wholeheartedly, communicating a variety of moods clearly. Without such puissant audio endorsement, I fear the piece may lack.

Ava Wong Davies’ highly descriptive narrative enables us to really engage with the girls’ stories. The frequent disruptions, both shattering the fourth wall and representing the imperfect and unprecedented quality that life holds, proves an insightful and raw implication. There is an ambiguity surrounding the whereabouts of Eliza and Riley’s mother, brought about by nuanced language and semiotics. We are reminded frequently that the girls are finding their ‘maiden’ which I can only deduct is their mother.

Alice Vilanculo, Witney White, Martina Laird and Sky Yang voice the characters with depth and eloquence. They communicate the importance of sisterhood, unity and taking back control with care and authenticity.  Overall, this discerning piece demands that we all take care of each other in an often pitiless age, and most importantly we are reminded that it is okay to not be okay.

Rime of the Second Sister is playing Online for the foreseeable future!  For more information and tickets, see 45North’s website.