Spymonkey’s Moby Dick
- Laura Ennor
- 26 January 2010
Being a member of Spymonkey sounds like a lot of fun. When the four-piece ensemble aren’t running around naked in front of thousands of people, parodying Christian pop bands, or generally playing silly whatsits for a living, they’re adapting great dense works of literature into chaotic, colourful works of comedy. Their rather unique version of Moby Dick comes to the Traverse this month. And get this – half of them didn’t even read the book. Well, we all know roughly what goes on, right?
No idea, it seems, is too mad or too fanciful for these masters of physical comedy to incorporate into their shows: among the things that Toby Park (the sensible one) lists as their must-haves for Moby Dick are an ‘eccentric dance number’, for which they were tutored in the hornpipe by an elderly man and his wife who used to form a music hall double act, and ‘an underwater, Jacques Cousteau tribute’, complete with ‘day-glo tropical coral reef costumes’.
And of course, having read the book, we’ll all want to know what Petra Massey, the company’s only female member, can have to do in the show (there being no female characters in the book). The answer, according to Park, is to try and worm her way in in any way she can, and that involves becoming the mermaid figurehead of the ship, who comes down from her post to sing ‘a musical number in the vein of Lily Allen, about the fact she can’t have babies. Because she’s a figurehead. Obviously.’
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 10–Sat 13 Feb