New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory

Follow Theatreview
Follow Theatreview on Twitter


Print Version

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014
KRAKEN (Trygve Wakenshaw)
Presented by Don't Be Lonely & Theatre Beating

at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 6 May 2014 to 10 May 2014

Reviewed by John Smythe, 7 May 2014

The standing ovation Trygve Wakenshaw earns at the end of his 50-minute show affirms his status as a hugely admired physical comedy performer. His ‘stream of physicality' method of progressively creating whimsical images and scenarios reminds me of an animated film I once saw where an unbroken pencil line proves to be infinitely transformative.  

Kraken, Wikipedia reveals, is a legendary sea monster of giant proportions that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. The mythology may have arisen from actual sightings of giant squid, such as Jules Verne envisaged in 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Given last year's Squidboy, it's fair to suggest a theme is emerging – or maybe the squid motif simply captures the essence of gangly Wakenshaw's physically fluid and often floaty clown.

Given the reductive nature of his comedy it's not surprising the tentacles that try to hold him back as he enters – that he has to escape from in exquisite slow motion – are very thin indeed. Stripped to his essence, twice, and achieving redress, lycra-clad Wakenshaw is now free to explore the potential of the empty space.

Ah but this one has walls. Is he in a tank? What's this: a mic? For a moment it seems he's about to do stand-up, or sing – ah no, it's a library; a book to be read, Moby Dick no less …

His miming, with subtly-produced sound effects and the odd word uttered – even whole sentences sometimes – allows for infinite possibilities. Ambiguities abound but always the ebullient action resolves into something recognisable which we, being human and addicted to meanings, instantly grasp. Little exclamations of delighted discovery punctuate each new manifestation of his wondrously creative imagination.

How much more can I say without spoiling the magical moments for you? This much, anyway: you will discover sampling pedals are not just confined to music; a singlet is eminently capable of becoming a TV screen; imagined magic is just as magic; any wound can be kissed better … And that's not the half of it.

Enough. Just go. You won't be sorry.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.