Writers and Devisors: Akimbo Theatre
Quick, slick and endlessly inventive, No One is a sharp comedy thriller based on H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man. With exciting set pieces and fight scenes that put the West End to shame, Akimbo Theatre’s story of (in)visibility demands to be seen.
Strange goings-on in the fictional seaside town of Wellstone – in Devon perhaps? – have attracted the attention of the police, including one mysterious detective who has come down from London. Flying pizza boxes have been seen hovering in mid- air. Floating stools stop bar brawls in their tracks. And then the barmaid from The Red Lion disappears.
Initially the local police think that drugs are involved, that witnesses have been indulging in “wacky tobacco”, but Detective Rodriguez thinks an old nemesis may be involved, a man he has pursued across the country. We are speedily taken back in time to see the real reasons why the pizza boxes hovered in the air.
Of course, it involves an invisible man Griffin, played here by Pierre Moullier just in his boxer-briefs. It’s a neat trick and his interactions with new (visible) friend Marvel are skilfully played. The physical comedy of the duo as Marvel realises that a naked body will be his new flatmate is ingenious and yet both men bring a humility to their characters. As the quiet Norwegian Marvel relishing his fame as an Instagram magician, Halvor Schultz is particularly likeable. Marvel and Griffin’s bromance comes with the tiniest hints of sexual desire.
However, this is a team effort and the rest of the cast are just as vibrant and energetic. Owen Bleach is hilarious as dim Detective Tate and Flo Wiedenbach is a cool Rodriguez and a camp cocktail-crazy Cosmo. Lexie Baker is touching and funny as the love-struck American Mia who falls in love with the man she cannot see. When the five come together to fight or dance in the scenes set in the pub or the local disco, the stop/start choreography is a joy to watch. And all performed to music provided by live DJ Jonathan Ben-Shaul.
The 70-minutes go by like a flash, and there’s not one dull moment. A few times when the actors lie on the floor, they forget that they are only visible to the front row of the audience, but thankfully these moments are few. They switch from character to character and from present day to flashback breathlessly, yet flawlessly. Everyone should see No One.
Runs until 28 January 2023