Named after the famed nautical creature renowned for wreaking havoc and drowning many a ship brave enough to cross its path, you’d be mistaken for thinking that the production of Kraken would follow suit, elaborating on the element of fear most associated with the monster. However, the production is anything but scary as Trygve Wakenshaw playfully navigates a fun, animated and comical piece of theatre.
Performed as part of this year’s London International Mime Festival, Kraken takes over the Soho Theatre for an exciting week long run. From the very moment I step into the theatre, it is made very apparent as to how popular Wakenshaw is as a performer. As ushers relentlessly search for empty seats to fit the audience into the space, the buzz that continually builds only adds to the anticipation.
As the lights dim, and a spotlight focuses on a hand reaching out from backstage of the black box setting, curiosity automatically strikes. Wakenshaw however lightens the mood with his exaggerated use of slow motion; continually fighting against the ropes drawing him backstage, similar to bungee rope obstacle courses from the likes of quirky gameshows such as It’s A Knockout or Total Wipeout. This striking imagery of Wakenshaw comically trying to escape from the ropes draws on the imagery of the Kraken, a majestic, all emcompassing, agile creature who’s clutches he wishes to escape from. Comedy ensues as Wakenshaw challenges the expectations of the audience by stripping naked as his only means of escape. This sequence is repeated 2 more times without the ropes, however with the same physicality displayed whilst the ropes were present displaying his effortless skill as a mime artist.
Hilariously alluding to the fact that he’s a mime artist, Wakenshaw transports the art form synonymous with Marcel Marceau and countless imitations of glass windows and doors into the 21st century. Ideas continually change, transforming like plasticine being crafted into new storylines and scenarios. From an imaginary microphone being used as a means to amplify song to a horse galloping gallantly across the stage, or a monstrous cobra seeking its prey, to a snake charmer comically seeking to hypnotise the cobra, Kraken never fails to amuse. House lights are left on throughout the production, allowing for the fourth wall to be broken. Audience participation makes the piece unique, adding an air of mischievousness and magic that will ensure no two nights are made the same due to the priceless reactions of the audience. Wakenshaw’s bumbling and quirky Mr Bean-esque one man show suspends belief, allowing for an hour of unquestioned escapism. 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba
Kraken is currently showing as part of this year’s London International Mime Festival at the Soho Theatre until Sunday 18th January. For more information the production, visit here…