I CAN’T WAKE UP: Based on an original story by Paul Hunter
Told By An Idiot: touring information email@example.com
Runs: 1h 10m, no interval
Review: Rod Dungate at mac, 22 February 2002
Wickedness of play, wildness of a fertile imagination and a strong element of poignant magic too
This is one weird and wonderful tale. Told By An Idiot clearly delights in the wickedness of play, the energy of invention and the wildness of a fertile imagination. In the long ago days before there was an NHS (funded or under-funded, no matter) madness was often linked with magic or prophecy. This company’s name is aptly chosen for their own brand of madness carries a strong element of magic too.
I CAN’T WAKE UP loosely tells the tale of an Nineteenth Century sea captain, who, having had his leg amputated, descends into mental illness, cared for by his loving wife and doctor. In the telling of the tale we pass through sea journeys, ship wrecks, suicides at sea, gales of bad language, starvation, Coronation Street, Victorian emailing writing desks and onwards from there. Plus a whole host of delicious verbal and visual jokes sufficient to keep you going for several weeks. (Waiter to famous sea captain as he waits for autograph ‘I’ve seen all your embarkations, Captain.’)
The wonderful and touching thing about the performance is that the more tangled the threads of narrative become, the more a coherent logic emerges. And we feel we inhabit the mind of the mentally disintegrating Captain. We feel inside the story, a poignancy emerges and blossoms.
The three performers are a delight: they have an off-the-cuff charm which is entirely engaging and belies the hard work and accuracy the lies beneath this cavalier exterior. Watch their faces from second to second, or see them create the movement of a boat adrift on the wide seas and you see what an ensemble they are and how accomplished their performing skills.
Director: John Wright
Design: Naomi Wilkinson
Lighting: John MacKenzie