Edinburgh Fringe 2012
"Two men crash their submarine into the ocean floor. You will laugh as they cry, swim, fly and go insane in this award-winning, critically acclaimed madcap journey from the sea to the sky and back again."
Two performers carry this hour for children,as we range from under the ocean, to above, and even into the air! Two performers, one taller than the other dressed as submarine sailors from a bygone era proceed to create a sub- and super-aquatic tale before our very eyes using nothing more than their bodies and their voices. Slater Penney and Jaron Hollander are their names and they are physical performers of fine quality indeed.
The movement is deft, tight, and finds its genius in simplicity and economy. These are two performers in touch with each other – physically, mentally, acrobatically. They often capture the bare essence of a thing and then recreate it with wonderful physicality, such as the submarine itself. The result is often wonder and/or delighted laughter in the audience.
Inside the submarine, as well as in other places they create before our eyes, there are plenty of sight gags and much of the humour arises from two simultaneous sources: their ability to create things out of joined up movement and mime, and their reactions to, and interactions with each other. This ability to converge and diverge from one moment to the next keeps the show fascinating.
Not all moments are as crisp and clear but nearly all are. Adults and children alike shared fascination and laughter in equal measure.
There’s a physical prowess in the pair that’s all the better and more impressive for being utilised but not flaunted. A lot of the simplicity and synergy arises from their strength as well as their concentration and mastery over breathing and the dynamic of stillness and movement.
This performance is as much about the imagined and the invisible as it is about what is laid there visibly before us. They conjure the unseen into our minds’-eye with vocalised sound effects, gesture, placement and movement and it’s all done with finesse and simple creativity. A lot of the action takes place above water and we have some fine animal renditions, and the fourth wall comes crashing down in places. They near fully incarnate into these animals as well as the many other things they transform into.
The action never lets up in a show crammed with playful and clever ideas from start to finish. It can overflow at times and the two children I took came out saying they hadn’t got it all. They also came out saying they had loved it!
Two performers, a bare stage and here, less is most definitely more.