Kraken at the Vaults
Days count down from 300 as marine engineers Patricia and Simon mine coal for a greener and more sustainable Earth. As the two scientists collect data, their relationship becomes threatened in the close confines of a new working environment, in a claustrophobic submersible at the bottom of the sea.
Unbound Production’s latest piece takes place during a climate crisis, and although it’s set in the near future, it is unclear when that is (we are informed a famine is occurring). As the couple dig up daily quantities of precious minerals, they playfully compete against one another to make life a little more exciting. Only communicating with each other and an AI named AIDA, who reports and correlates the research findings from above water, the strain on the couple’s relationship is evident, whilst Patricia rakes in more coal than Simon.
The minimal set design features small benches simultaneously used as furniture and to store equipment; tonight’s underwater environment also matches the Pit, where walls drip incessantly. Shazia Nicholls and Jack Parry-Jones both perform well, showing the stresses of modern life whilst stuck thousands of feet below ground on the seafloor as they debate their findings and future as a couple.
When a giant squid eventually enters the story, things don’t take much of a turn, as one would expect. If you were going into this show assuming the cephalopod would play a significant role, think again. Though it is visually intriguing to look at, the mute squid – named Archie by Simon and played by Henry Felix – doesn’t make much of a splash, but creates a nice bit of physical theatre.
Written by Skot Wilson, the script requires some sharpening, as there are innumerable uses of curse words that make the dialogue fall flat. Rebecca Hill’s direction manages to keep most of the performance afloat, but the rushed and lacklustre ending does nothing to rescue what seemed a promising piece of new writing.
Kraken is at the Vaults from 3rd March until 8th March 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.