Trygve Wakenshaw knew he'd stumbled onto something great when his solo Squidboy received much acclaim in the 2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival. It's a funny and original exploration of imagination and dreams with the audience forced to test the lengths to which their own imagination will stretch. He was quite right to resurrect it. Allow me to just say, this show was good. Really good. BUT..
Anyone who has been to drama school has seen or been in one of those productions with ironically basic costumes, mime, soundscape, slapstick and physical.. things. That's not to say that Wakenshaw's Squidboy was at all amateur or 'drama-school-esque', but there's no denying what's about to happen from the minute you walk into Tuxedo Cat to when Wakenshaw steps onto the stage. That said, there were some genuinely funny moments which ranged from outright in-your-face funnies like asking the imaginary waiter in an imaginary restaurant for a chair that wasn't imaginary (you had to be there), right through to the more subtle funnies like a particularly clever knife-in-the-back to interpretive dance.
I need to write about this piece for the small percentage of theatre goers who are slightly ashamed to not love all quirky shows, great and small. For me, personally, I felt as though I was the only one not rolling on the floor in peals of laughter 90% of the time (the other 10% was reserved for gasping for breaths of air in between the laughter!). That's not to say the show misses the mark, I mean, if I'm the only one NOT hysterical then he must be doing something right! You just have to be into that sort of thing.
There. I've said it.
The difference between this and any other of the aforementioned drama-school-esque productions however, was that there was a clearly defined point to the costume, sparsity of the stage, the use of the body and the voice - etc etc.. Now, I don't mind if the point is subtly illustrated and left to interpretation, or if it smacks me in the face; just so long as its there. And it was.
From the moment I realised that all was not peachy in imaginary paradise, I stopped trying to hide my embarrassment at not laughing and waited for it to happen. The end of Squidboy Re-spawned is something else: it's funny, clever, charming, surprising and ties it all together in the most delicious of ways.
Sadly, this was a one-day-only showcase to celebrate the artistic development that's taken place. Wakenshaw and his team of creative superpeople are now getting Squidboy tour-ready so keep your eyes peeled because he'll be back - and when he is, you really mustn't miss out.
Whether you're a regular indie-theatre-loving hipster kid, or an old music theatre nerd like yours truly who pretends to be an indie-theatre-loving hipster kid, you certainly won't be disappointed. I promise you will leave with a feeling of contentment, whimsy and just a dash of excitement.