Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Winner: Best Performance, Auckland Fringe 2013. Trygve Wakenshaw delights in this critically acclaimed physical comedy about an imaginary friend who makes imaginary friends who make imaginary enemies who make imaginary armies out of imaginary Scotsmen. A stream of consciousness comedy adventure. A squid in an elevator. An exploding cow. Ornamental Japanese lawn. What will happen? Nobody knows. Not even the squid. ‘Laugh out loud funny’ **** (www.FringeReview.co.uk). ‘I promise you will leave with a feeling of contentment, whimsy and just a dash of excitement’ (Theatre People). ‘Impossible not to love’ **** (Soundpond.net).
Squidboy is the story of a fisherman who dreams he is a squid…or maybe a squid that dreams that he is a fisherman.
A mad-cap mimed journey through the mind of Trygve Wakenshaw, Squidboy is a lovable and hilarious piece of physical comedy. Wakenshaw uses mime and music to lead the audience through the twists and turns of his zany narrative.
Squidboy loosely follows the journeys of two characters, both played by Wakenshaw – a fisherman and a squid. Their hopes and fears mirror one another in their search for love and companionship despite being sworn enemies. The tale echoes sea shanties and popular absurdist humour such as The Mighty Boosh. Quotes and catchphrases were used to great effect, demonstrating the power of repetition in humour.
Wakenshaw introduces the audience to his mime technique, providing the sound effects for the objects, people and animals he creates. The stage became populated with his creations – the audience ‘saw’ and believed what he was portraying every step of the way. Wakenshaw’s vocal talent is prodigious, deftly switching between the voices of the squid and the fisherman, and providing sound effects.
Wakenshaw’s relationship with his audience is very strong set up by sharing an imaginary packet of crisps with them at the beginning of the piece. This relationship is needed to transport an audience on this zany adventure with him.
Although Squidboy is engrossing and mesmerizing, there were some points were the absurdism was pushed a little too far, or Wakenshaw didn’t move on quickly enough from image to image. The section where the squid smelt an imaginary cow’s bottom, although producing the required disgust in the audience, is an example of a section which is a little over-long.
The use of music in Squidboy was well judged and atmospheric, including the climatic chase by an army of bagpipe playing Scotsmen.
Squidboy ends on a lasting note about imagination, a poignant look at loneliness and what is real. Wakenshaw fails to strip away and destroy his creations. Again, like Horizon Arts’ The Vanish Inquisition, Squidboy demonstrated that once something has been created on stage, in the imaginations of the performer and audience, it can’t be erased. It is there as indelibly as if it truly, concretely existed.
Squidboy is the cult show of the Fringe – you must go to find out what everyone is giggling about in the queues for shows.