• Amy Toledano

Kraken presented by Unbound Productions

What Is It?

Kraken is an underwater climate crisis capitalist-cephalopod romance, written by Skot Wilson, directed by Rebecca Hill and presented by Unbound Productions.

What Is It About?

Simon (Jack Parry-Jones) and Trixie (Shazia Nicholls) are a couple who work on a deep-sea mining station, desperately searching for rare minerals that they can drill and sell on the surface in the midst of the climate crisis. Their only link to the outside world is AIDA, an Alexa-type device reporting directly to ‘Head Office’, voiced by Isabelle Anderson, who provides daily news updates between scenes, informing about disasters, eco-driven terror attacks and a world teetering on the edge of collapse. Whilst there, Simon encounters a giant squid whom he names Archie (Henry Felix) and befriends.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

This show does an excellent job of thrusting the audience into the claustrophobic, isolated and pressurised lives of Simon and Trixie in their deep-sea submersible. James Donnelly’s intuitive design works fantastically within the cavernous underground space, and the piece is supported wonderfully by Tingying Dong’s sound design, adding to the enclosed, aquatic feel.

Rebecca Hill’s direction engages with intense shifts of emotions between scenes and transitions, generally keeping the piece flowing well, despite some pacing issues throughout, most notably between the first and second half; the latter especially is not helped by a series of abstract sketches that feel out of place from the rest of the story. Shazia Nicholls and Jack Parry-Jones are both brilliant from start to finish, effectively delivering intense emotion and real humour that fills the submersible.

The writing is good, especially the sections of pacy dialogue, although at times this suffers from becoming over-complicated. Skot Wilson is clearly a very intelligent writer, however there are points where this feels as if there are one too many ideas running through the crux of the piece. Unfortunately the climax does not land as heavily as it should, partly as it is unclear which strand of the story is most important by the end, and partly due to an odd moment of physical theatre that feels out of place, not least as it is introduced so late on.

Anything Else?

This is an ambitious, clever and engaging piece of theatre about the climate emergency facing this planet and the reasons we are in this position. Although it does become bogged down a little by its own ideas at points, it will be very interesting to follow this piece throughout its development; it has a lot of potential.

Calum x

Kraken is playing in the Pit, VAULT Festival, until the 8th March 2020.

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