The appropriately named Scantily Glad Theatre company presents Something In The Water, starring Grumms, a person who transforms from a normal girl into a squid monster. The show describes itself as Creature from the Black Lagoon meets The Muppets. Personally, I’d say it’s like a child who hasn’t seen The Shape of Water snorted a bunch of coke and then tried to explain the story using whatever they had in their bedroom. But in a very good way, unlike a child doing hardcore drugs.
Both descriptions cover the important roles within the show played by plastic Barbie and Ken dolls, as representatives of what is “normal”, and the squid puppet, as the “monster”, with the sets being made from a hand-drawn picture book, a projector and a fish tank, the combination being simultaneously quite sophisticated and (by design) incredibly makeshift.
Though the protagonist must hide their secret identity in order to pass in society, the performance is fearless and hilarious. Constantly jumping backwards and forwards between the classic story (a mix of Kafka and black and white horror, of “monstrous” transformation, angry mob, the kidnapped damsel, etc), and what it represents (through moments and adverts showing the attributes placed on genders and people), the performer imbues these objects with life while also building a full and cartoonish persona of their own. The underlying (and serious) point is clearly made, however absurd the actual events depicted (and their format) becomes.
We’re early on in the festival that this seems like a presumptuous statement, but I suspect this will be a Fringe stand-out show for many of those for which the audience participation, nudity, scenes of a sexual nature and strobe lighting won’t be an issue. It’s funny, striking and, in its own way, flawlessly put together. If you’re looking for absurdist comedy or a LGBTQ+ show, I can’t imagine you’ll want to miss this.
Something In The Water plays until August 28th (not mondays) at the Summerhall Cairns Lecture Theatre, and tickets can be found at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/something-in-the-water
Reviewer: Oliver Giggins
Reviewed: 4th August 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★