Me and my Whale
Reviewed – 22nd June 2019
“Much can be admired about the creativity and innovative ideas”
Never has the deep, damp, dark cloisters of The Vaults been the most ideal place to stage a production. Me & My Whale which explores aquatic life, is visually and audibly exciting, using ingenious techniques to evoke an underwater world.
We follow the captain (Hannah Mook) of a submarine on her journey below the depths of the deep blue sea. All is calm as she’s focussed on her job at hand, but this is not for long as she soon falls head over heels in love. With a whale. Captivated by the mammal’s song, the captain is besotted. But this is no happily ever after as tragedy is in store. Blending multimedia techniques (mostly triggered and performed live by Xavier Velastin) with absurdist, performance art, there is a deeper message that runs through, calling out the damage we’re causing to our oceans environmentally and technologically.
Projectors, spinning bowls of water, blue food colouring and clear plastic dust sheets are just some of the objects used that are more than just props, they are the tools that transform the space into being visually quite mesmerising. Designer Virag Pazmany and technicians Venus Raven and Ariane Nixon complete the team whose combined expertise help to bring Mook and Velastin’s vision to life.
Hannah and Xavier have a warm and inviting presence on stage, with a clear joyous chemistry between one another that is infectious to be in the presence of. Unfortunately, at times parts can drag, or lose meaning, feeling it could be tightened in places. Shaving a few minutes off the running time would be ideal. There is no real story per se, in a conventional way, however, what loose storyline there is, isn’t used to its full potential. Any kind of plot, or even just symbolism in the performance art/abstract movement can be muddied and lost.
Much can be admired about the creativity and innovative ideas Hannah and Xavier have incorporated into the piece. The atmospheric world that envelops you leaves your senses tingling. At its high points Me and my Whale will make you chuckle or marvel at the sights and sounds. However this is too often dominated by moments of monotony leaving you befuddled or drifting off. Not quite a ‘whale’ of a time, but certainly an intriguing journey to be a part of.
Reviewed by Phoebe Cole
Me and my Whale
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