Washed up, as if on a beach, lie a drift of items suggesting working class life: boxes, shelves, wooden stepladders and a rocking chair.

Away from the detritus, a rope hinting at boats and harbours, snakes across the stage. Centre stage, a large trunk dominates, a brooding uncertainty as to what it contains.

A group of women arrives and sits. Each carries a small radio with glittering, bright lights. Time passes. They move, are still, move, are still – until the bell calls and they burst into action. All except one, who sleeps soundly on the rocking chair, but suddenly leaps into life and rushes to join the other women.

She is too late, however. Her husband is already at sea and she missed saying goodbye.

So beings a period of anxious expectation for the women, their menfolk at sea. The tides flow. Time passes. They listen to the shipping forecast with obsessive commitment. And they sing – simple, plaintive tunes, repetitive and mesmeric written by Oxford’s Matt Winkworth.

Most of the men return, but not Finn, the husband of the woman who overslept and missed saying farewell.

SOLE is a beautifully written piece of theatre using language that manages to be lyrical, poetic, unpretentious and accessible. It’s also funny, with lots of jokes, wry and well-observed.

It was absorbingly realised as a visual experience, enhanced by Nomi Everall’s evocative lighting design. Emma Webb, who wrote and directed, also played the sleepy head. She effortlessly used her skills as both dancer and actor, combining the ability to explore the stylised world of the dancer with the actor’s nuanced delivery of text.

The cast of women – “the Barnacles” - was drawn from the community. There were those with experience as singers, actors and dancers and those for whom it was their first terrifying appearance on stage. Together they generated a haunting context of fear and hope.