WHEN mountaineers Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first stood on the summit of Mount Everest in May 1953 they opened up a whole new world.

Their journey to the highest peak has lead to countless others wanting to do the same. They could never have imagined those photos taken in recent years of long queues of people inching their way towards the Himalayan summit.

In this age of making memories and ticking off challenges, Everest is one of the big ones.

Over the years, more than 300 people have died in their pursuit of what many consider the ultimate dream.

We’ve heard the stories – of inexperienced people paying huge amounts of money, dead bodies, ghosts, team rivalry.

We’ve seen the photos - of Sherpas carrying knee-buckling loads of equipment alongside clients with a small rucksack.

The Climbers, which has opened at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake, explores the lure of the mountain, the drive to conquer and price of staying alive.

Times and Star: Camping out en route to the summit Camping out en route to the summit

Surrounded by peaks and home to so many lovers of the outdoors, Keswick seems a pretty perfect place for the premier of Carmen Nasr’s play.

It focuses on a young married couple – Yasmin and Charlie, climbers with their hearts set on “standing on top of the world” – however much it costs, financially and emotionally.

The theatre is well known for it’s fabulous and fantastic sets but I was intrigued as to how on earth it could recreate the Himalayas.

Times and Star: Recreating the hostile mountain environmentRecreating the hostile mountain environment

We were greeted by a simple and stunning set, brilliantly illustrating a landscape of high peaks.

We were immediately drawn into the drama as Yasmin abseils down on to the stage and into a Nepalese hotel room where she is quizzed by a private investigator about her missing husband.

Connie had the impossible task of trying to find out what exactly happened to Charlie, having been hired by his heartbroken mother, Celia.

This outdoor, thrill-seeking world was completely alien to her. And as she interviewed the various characters involved – including Sherpa Tshering and climber and guide Gwen, it was clear that everyone had a different story to tell.

The play moved fluidly and cleverly back and forth in time and place, from noisy, dramatic storms on the mountain to a quiet England home or a crazy karaoke bar.

Times and Star: The Death ZoneThe Death Zone

The clever set combined with brilliant lighting, sound and choreography drew us all into the terrifying “death zone, where your body starts eating itself. Time and space disappear. It can be impossible to remember what happens up there”.

Claire Lams and Marc Graham brilliantly portrayed go-getting Yasmin and the more thoughtful Charlie – a couple who connected on many levels but not all.

While Shenagh Govan touchingly played Celia, a devastated mother who could not comprehend this dangerous world.

Times and Star: Claire Lams and Louise Mai NewberryClaire Lams and Louise Mai Newberry Louise Mai Newberry was brilliant as the nervously energetic (and at times exhausted) Connie, drawn into a whole new mystical mountain world.

Manish Gandhi beautifully drew us into the world of Sherpas and the wisdom that had been passed down through the generations.

While Amelia Isaac Jones as Gwen had a lovely energy, encapsulating the spirit of so many climbers.

Together with director Guy Jones they all give us an intriguing insight into the mesmerising lure of the mountains.

The Climbers runs at Theatre by the Lake until July 16.

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