Kraken (4 stars)

This article is from 2014


Creator of cult hit Squidboy returns with gripping mime performance to transfix the audience

Who needs actions when you’ve got words? Or in the case of Kraken, who needs words when you’ve got actions, specifically the transfixing mime of New Zealand’s Trygve Wakenshaw? Also the creator of cult hit Squidboy, and, like the mythical octopus-style creature said to envelop entire ships, he has the audience well and truly in his grasp throughout, without so much as a tangible prop or proper dialogue for company. But these are unnecessary when you can create an ever-changing imaginary world via the deft deployment of the universal language of physical comedy.

The crowd is taken on a journey at breakneck speed through a series of admirably preposterous scenarios, audience reactions becoming the soundtrack to the show. Wakenshaw powers through constantly evolving sophisticated slapstick; it’s no mean feat to cause flinching at imaginary pain caused by an imaginary object, and the regular audience participation prompts some of the loudest cackles.

Wakenshaw trained under French master clown Philippe Gaulier, who says his school changes its students ‘totally’, due to ‘subterranean forces’ unleashed by the teaching. ‘At the end of the journey you are lighter and free’. Suitably, Kraken delivers lightness and dark, without the pace or laughter ever slackening

Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug (not 11), 8.40pm, £11– £12 (£10– £11).


  • 4 stars

Underbelly Productions and Don't Be Lonely From award-winning Gaulier-trained clown and creator of smash hit Squidboy (Sold Out and nominated for a Total Theatre Award 2013) comes Trygve Wakenshaw’s new physical comedy, Kraken. Beautifully strange stream-of-consciousness idiocy. Winner: 2014 Edinburgh Underbelly Award.