Review: In the Wake – Magnetic North Theatre Festival

It’s a little bit like watching a championship final for a charades competition. The lightning round. Bring together four able bodies and give ’em a ton of shapes to help tell a story. A casual swim? Simple:

A car and seatbelt? Sure:

A motorcycle? Easy:

But it’s not all turtles and flagpoles. There’s some seriousness behind this ingenious theatrical concept. This three-day run of In the Wake is a remount that won the Betty Mitchell Award for Best New Play two years ago and not for lack of substance.

Something in the water is killing the fish in a BC coastal town and it’s hurting the industry. But when a marine biologist finds a potential solution she’s met with scientific indifference political bureacracy and roadblock after roadblock.

Amidst the speedy physicality and visual jocularity what emerges is the play’s underdog heart. The characterizations — from prickly arrogant scientists obnoxious elementary children and political bigwigs — all add to the frustration of trying to do the right thing. Even the mundane task of doing paperwork and submitting forms is made into an entirely sympathetic and entertaining sequence. Think The Wire only with legs forming a desk and fists doubling as a keyboard and mouse.

It’s charmingly clever. It’s humbly ambitious. It’s exotic aquatics. Most of all it’s exceptionally well done. There’s two more shows .

And hey what other play will you get to see a Bespeckled Goose Neck Barnacle who stretches and stretches towards the sky? I don’t think even the Children’s Fest has that.

In the Wake is part of the Magnetic Encounters component of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival .