I’m not sure I’ve ever properly laughed at a mime. I’m not sure if I’ve ever even chuckled. I haven’t even laughed at a joke about a mime. So it was a special occasion last night at the Herald Theatre to be trapped for a full hour in a state somewhere between joy and fear, perpetually just-about-weeing-myself thanks to Trygve Wakenshaw.
The UK-based Kiwi klown has spent the last couple of years honing the follow-up to his award winning Squidboy, and while Kraken may not dilly-dally with any pretense to plot or even surrealist narrative like its predecessor, its vignettes are all loosely glued together with a delightfully silly logic. Where the former dished out absurdist monologues to tell its tale, Kraken comes armed with a demented combo of silence and whispered muttering, consistently eliciting the kind of prolonged laughter the likes of which one-liner comedians could never hope to invoke.
While it may stretch the imagination to picture a silent, physical comedy that is at once grotesque and terrifying, it is precisely Trygve Wakenshaw’s ability to delimit his own imagination that has allowed this show to exist. Kraken knows no sensible boundaries; from absurdist (and silent) takes on the now-dull trend of loop pedal music-making, to self-boxing, bird-feeding, outfit-shedding - and, oh! – the things you can do with a unicorn horn!
Limbs akimbo, like a rubber praying mantis having huffed from the wrong exhaust, Mr Wakenshaw prances, dances and entrances, his wide eyes petitioning his audience for approval. Audience participation takes on a whole new meaning, with murder, invisible glue, and extreme kissing-it-better never far around the corner; it’s impossible not to be drawn into the fanciful set of games our child-like jester insists we play.
It’s been a while since (in my world) there has been such an obvious call for a standing ovation; Kraken is a triumphant piece - or set of pieces - of inane glee, by a man who is truly a clown of the highest order.
Herald Theatre, 13 – 17 May, 9pm
Tickets available through Ticketmaster