There is a recurring theme to this delightful, disgusting, light-hearted solo show from mime artist, Tryvge Wakenshaw. It is in seeing the inevitable next step in his actions, wishing it wouldn’t happen, and watching it happen regardless. His entrance sets the tone, in which his gangly limbs make their way towards a stool with his clothes on, while his existing, identical clothes are attached to puppet strings. The strings are not quite long enough, and the only solution is to leave his clothes behind. To describe the scene as “cheeky” is true to more than one connotation.
This innocent, charming character and Tryvge’s child-like imagination create animated little scenes that lead into each other, without the need for prompt or reason beyond physical inspiration. We journey from a galloping horse, to a unicorn, to seeing Tryvge swallow the unicorn’s horn. Forget logic, forget necessity: we see his innards fall out of a hole in his side, then watch as he cooks those innards, and as the sound of the cooking conjures up a hissing snake. Suddenly the audience become the sound of a snake charmer keeping the snake at bay, controlled unquestionably by a loop-pedal. This is all accompanied by Tryvge’s sweet voice exclaiming “Ouchy” and “Oh yeah” and “Aaah!”, a face full of expressions and command of his free-falling physicality that mark him as an addictive performer to watch.
The words are minimal, and when no words come despite setting up a stage mic as if he is about to speak, he mouths, “I’m a mime!” with all the open arms and shrugging shoulders to suggest, “What else did you expect?” There is a sense that Tryvge has been flung onto this stage, been expected to perform and is simply making the best of it. As such, his performance sits between self-aware and self-defining, and between a modesty and boldness that means he can get away with clambering over the front row to kiss his audience members.
Trygve trained in clowning under the school of Phillipe Gaulier, and in an interview with Gaulier in 2001 by Dominic Cavendish, he describes of his practice that “People have to find a way of being beautiful and surprising.” As a piece of theatre, Kraken embodies these attributes in droves, and there is an odd elegance to Tryvge’s darting, awkward limbed movements, as well as irresistible comedy.
It’s just brilliant. Tryvge may enter on puppet strings, but we are the puppet as he controls the volume of our participation, whether or not the stage is lit, and where on his body we might kiss better his stab wounds from the unicorn horn. We go voluntarily, willingly, into Tryvge’s world, and it is a welcome relief to simply bask in the silliness of it all.
Kraken is part of the 2015 London International Mime Festival.