Big Wow Theatre Company
Unity Theatre (12th-20th January 2007, no performances on Sunday or Monday)

Reviewed by Adam Ford

You don’t have to be an insomniac to love this play. You can be afflicted by panic attacks, low self-esteem, or any neurosis under the sun. In other words, you only have to be a human being who sees too many adverts, is under too much pressure at work or is anxious about the ever-expanding ‘war on terrapins’. No wonder it won the People’s Choice award at last year’s Edinburgh festival. Welcome to the insane world that the Liverpool’s Big Wow Theatre Company call home.

Office worker Keith (Mark Rutter) can’t sleep. Or can he? Maybe his not being able to sleep is actually a dream, but then maybe ‘reality’ is just a dream within a dream about not being able to sleep! And what is he doing with his life? God, he’s such a failure! Or is he? Whose voice is that anyway?

The other twenty-seven characters are played by the hyper Tim Lynskey, from Kevin Sandwichboy to a bored female co-worker to an entire Insomniacs Anonymous group as it falls apart at the seams.

This outstanding physical comedy is built on a spot-on observation of a society collapsing in on itself, and the mile-a-minute humour was lapped-up by an extremely appreciative audience on the first night.

With typical millennial self-deprecation, Big Wow claim to be ‘turning pissing about into an art form’. There is more than a hint of people like Reeves and Mortimer about them, but Insomnobabble is far, far cleverer, and this duo may be the best performers I have ever seen on stage.

The Hope Street graduates reflect reality and yet go beyond it. Everyone in the western world over the age of about eight must think like Keith more than occasionally, but because we all experience life as individuals, it can sometimes seem like we are the only one. By putting all the craziness on stage, and receiving well-deserved gales of laughter in return, Big Wow prove beyond that always-present doubt that we are not insane, our lives are.

Printer friendly page

Comments are closed for this review