Kraken, VAULT Festival

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By Joanna Trainor

My money is on the squid in a squid versus whale fight.

Kraken is the dystopian story of a world trying to stick to its capitalist guns in the midst of the climate crisis, whilst a vigilante group patrol the Earth hunting those who refuse to be environmentally friendly. It might not sound that farfetched, but Skot Wilson’s play has something Philip Ridley-esque about it that is utterly intriguing.

Unbound Productions’ 2012 production Travesti was an absolute pillar of feminist theatre, so finding out their next piece was going to be science fiction-esque is certainly surprising. But never doubt a Rebecca Hill and Bradley Leech show; they know what they’re doing. Giant squids and cobalt mining aside, this is a story about relationships, about feeling emasculated by your partner when she’s more successful than you because toxic masculinity is a bitch, whether on dry land or in a mining hub under the sea.

It’s Wilson’s ability to present a situation that initially seems perfectly normal, like a couple who are working together to save for a house, but is just ever so slightly skewed so that it makes the audience that little bit uncomfortable. Almost from the moment the piece begins, it’s clear that something isn’t quite right, so you’re instantly put on the edge of your seat – and not just because you’re trying to fit three people on those benches in Pit. That’s a fun place to start as an audience member.

Most of the performance feels polished, but the ending is a little rushed, which sounds odd for a play that lasts more than 300 days. In saying that though, the final image is so disturbing that it has lingered long since. Think Pitchfork’s entrance at the end of Ridley’s Pitchfork Disney, aside from a small wardrobe malfunction. It will be really exciting to see how Kraken develops, and you’d be wise to keep your eye out for future productions of it.

Kraken runs through 8 March.

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