Theatre, Fringe
3 out of 5 stars
'Wail' by Little Bulb
'Wail' by Little Bulb

The madcap company return with a new show about the creatures of the deep.

Whimsical theatre company Little Bulb return to the fringe this year with a madcap new offering following their 2013 big-scale version of ‘Orpheus’ and their kids show ‘Antarctica’. ‘Wail’ is typically makeshift, and typically silly, it’s also very rough around the edges. And it taps into the company’s obsession with, and talent for, making beautiful, ridiculous and haunting music.

‘Wail’ is about whales. Not Wales. It’s about the wails of whales. It is a piece inspired by the noise that the great monsters of the deep make. Part lecture, part sketch show, it imparts some scientific facts about the cetacean beasts, gets the audience to sing like a whale, and offers up some songs about whales too. Performers Dominic Conway and Clare Beresford introduce themselves – they are really, really excited about whales – and they sing us a Scottish folk song about going off on a whaling ship. It’s a shiver-inducing rendition full of soul about the sea, longing and romance. But from then, the show just gets sillier and sillier. They sing a hippy song that Beresford has composed about how awesome whales are. They teach us to whale whoop, they cavort about the stage dressed up as a humpback whale.

It’s a lot of fun but it doesn’t have the air of a finished piece. And what’s really missing is the actual noise of a whale. There is a soaring music finale that almost re-creates the noise - with the help of amps, guitars, keyboards and voices – but it’s no substitute. ‘Wail’ is crying out for actual whale song.  

In truth, ‘Wail’ doesn’t really know what it is yet. But it’s whale-y entertaining to watch and hear this company work it out.  


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