Wail is a product of the Big Ideas project, run by Nuffield Theatre – which pairs artists with academics in the hope of nurturing creative responses to academic research.
The meeting here was between the devising theatre company Little Bulb Theatre – who normally make quaint, comic and visually rich ensemble theatre – with Paul White, a professor of statistical signal processing at Southampton University, who has been studying the sounds made by marine animals.
Little Bulb Theatre have responded to Paul’s research with a show that is a meeting between comedy, gig and lecture. Their focus is the humpback whale, and specifically its sounds and its music: hence the show’s title.
The two handed performance is eclectic, proficient and charming. Dominic Conway and Claire Beresford are endearing and warm, and Claire’s singing and vocal range is very impressive. We’re confronted with a wide variety of songs, instruments and the inevitable audience participation. The music is original and the final song is a virtuoso performance and suitable climax.
By the end of the hour the audience were not only laughing and clapping but imitating whale noises – a worthy activity for anyone interested in nature.