‘Only Bones’, V1.4 by Trygve Wakenshaw, and V1.0 by Thom Monckton

Review from: V.1.4 at Soho Theatre, London International Mime Festival; 25th January 2020 & V.1.0 at Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; August 2019

Rosie:​ So the fun thing about Only Bones is that we have both seen it twice now. We saw Thom Monckton perform it in Edinburgh in August and we have just seen Trygve Wakenshaw perform it at the London International Mime Festival.

Ruby:​ Yes. I didn’t realise how different it was going to be, so at first I found it hard to relax into, but it’s a really interesting concept. Apparently Thom wanted to make a piece that went beyond itself. He wanted other performers to also make it, within those minimalist rules that he set, which I guess become devising tasks.

Rosie:​ So the rules, from what I could figure out, were no props, no set and no narrative. Trygve definitely took the no narrative rule to the extreme, whereas Thom did have some small stories.

Ruby:​ I think the other rules were to perform within a one metre circle and have just one light.

Rosie:​ But Trygve didn’t regard the circle at all really. It seems like the rules aren’t strict and he was able to have his own creative interpretation of them.

Ruby:​ In Thom’s version they had someone playing the role of a technician on stage, which I think was Gemma Tweedie who he created the show with.

Rosie:​ And then in Trygve’s he has a talking light which makes jokes with the audience.

Ruby:​ So it was interesting that I preferred Thom’s version and you preferred Trygve’s. What did you like about Trygve’s?

Rosie:​ I thought it was a lot funnier, it was faster paced and more things happened. It was jam-packed with loads of different types of mime and physicality.

Ruby:​ Yeah Trygve’s was all very fast paced, he was throwing lots at you and there were lots of quick punchlines. I liked that Thom’s had some moments of real intensity, where he was really pushing the physical technique or going a bit dark. In the fish bit he really commits and builds this tension as you watch his struggle.

Rosie: ​That’s what I like about Thom’s as well. It was more serious and I think a lot of people think mime or clown has to be just funny. He shows that it just has to be watchable and interesting.

Ruby: ​I loved the bit in Thom’s where he basically tells the story of the evolution of war and violence throughout human history. All with his hands! And the technical stuff, moving his expressions with his hands and manipulating his head… you can see how thorough his research must have been.

Rosie:​ Sometimes it went on too long for me. In the head bit we saw him testing every different way he could try and get his head to stay up on his neck, but I don’t need to see everything he discovered. Trygve’s on the other hand was in much shorter sections. He had so much energy but lots of control at the same time. I liked the recorded sound effects which were perfectly timed with the action.

Ruby:​ That was really cool but I also liked that Thom made loads of interesting noises live. I would be really interested to see if another performer does an interpretation of it.

Rosie: ​I would also just go and see it if either of those two did it again. I’m really interested in the concept of the show.

Ruby:​ It’s great to get to watch such highly skilled mime. I actually found an interview with Trygve on thestage.co.uk where he said he is going to get to work with Thom later this year. Thom is going to be directing Trygve and some others in a show in Prague.

Rosie:​ That would be a very cool show to see. It could be very weird.

Online programme notes from v1.4 at London International Mime Festival are linked here

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