What Little Bulb do is create fun. In Wail, two performers bumble exuberantly round BAC’s Council Chamber, singing songs and espousing facts about whales, and a little about humans, too. It’s all very silly, something bright on a grey Thursday evening. But what Little Bulb do amidst all the silliness is create glimpses of absolute magic.
Wail is a weird bundle, more like a jam session between nerdy marine biologists than a performance. While it is bubbling over with joy and top whale puns, it straddles the lines between art, science and song a bit awkwardly, with not quite enough science to make it feel like there’s the substance to really pack out the hour. There’s something charming about the Emotional Finale being so utterly ridiculous that even the company can’t contain their giggles, and it is just so purely, innocently enjoyable throughout that it’s point or purpose doesn’t so much matter. Wail is made and played for japes, it’s just a bit too chaotic to feel completely coherent.
A very early song is an old Scottish folk song about going whale hunting, and it is haunting and beautiful in equal measure as Claire Beresford’s powerhouse voice fills the hall. Similarly to Tom Penn’s solo as Persephone in the previously adorable Orpheus, it is a proper held-in-the-palm-of-their-hand moment. The musical finale sees the duo dash around the stage playing instruments and building them into a looped song, with bubbles falling down on the stage and lights slowly fading. The sounds wash over you, mashing up the music that humans make and mimicking that of whales, and somehow it is like being all at sea, lost in darkness as the noise just washes over you. Whatever theatricality or clairty certain moments in Wail may lack, these points more than make up for it: these are their moments of magic.
Battersea Arts Centre