Trygve Wakenshaw returns to FringeWorld with new show Kraken selling out, but punters are fortunate that he seizes the opportunity to revisit his show that drew full houses last year, the award winning SQUIDBOY, also.
Opening with a monologue from an old fisherman, we are drawn into the conundrum of whether the vivid dreams he has of being a squid, deep beneath the sea, are actually his dreams, or whether he is the dream of a squid that dreams of being a fisherman. The gnarled man of the sea, forlorn and solitary, is established, in time for a self-inflicted attack that strips him of his weatherproof clothes and beard to reveal a young, smiling squidboy. He flirts with us, sweetly, engagingly revealing secrets of squid cultural achievements with a sweet playfulness, performing the dance of the squid who knows that squids invented maths, furniture, dancing and tidying up. His physical exuberance and direct, disarming open facial work are captivating, drawing an entire audience into his reality to the extent that passing imaginary chips along a row of seating is accepted until “we’re all good, now”.
Interacting with the front row, encouraging people to eat imaginary crisps, a seagull and a lamb, he demands constant attention and open minds, which he amply repays with consistently fine clowning. Other recurring features of the happy world of this “slightly camp” flannel squid are a convenience store that sells anything for 2 pounds, an infectious enjoyment of eating and a tendency to end scenes abruptly in a cloud of ink. From so many wonderful moments of mime, a sequence on a treadmill, an extreme, long-distance game of fetch the stick with Poochie and the various wrestles with the Fisherman-self are sidesplitting to observe but also inspiring with the multitude of layered details in presentation.
Random-seeming vignettes resolve into a consistent narrative arc as the earnest young squid woos Susan, the voice from an elevator emergency phone. The change in perspective shifts the tale from a charming conceit to a tragic love story of loss and personal devastation. The revelation of the entire world being an imaginary construct to deal with great personal loss, explained to Susan as she disappears, is touching and sincere and then subverted by a return to the playful lightness that marked the rest of the work.
For all the playfulness in delivery, it is clear that Wakenshaw takes pride in his precision in presentation of this detailed piece. Every move is calculated to advance the story, bring laughs or both. It’s a joy to welcome Wakenshaw back to FringeWorld, to entertain audiences and inspire fellow artists.
The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights & DON'T BE LONELY in association with PICA presents
Venue: PICA Performance Space | Perth Cultural Centre, 51 James Street, Northbridge, WA
Dates: 28 – 30 Jan, 2015
Tickets: $20 – $25