There’s a great history of sea legend stories in novels, film, and legend. Titles like JAWS, MOBY DICK, and THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA all bring to mind a sense of setting that’s full of rugged adventure, suspense, and sea-side charm. Know Theatre’s newest production, THE FISHERMAN’S WIFE, succeeds in achieving the nautical theme. The atmosphere in the Underground, the basement bar where the show is staged, is immersive. The background music, the subtle props, and the simple but gorgeous stage by Sarah Beth Hall all work together to prepare us for adventure.
Steve Yockey, who’s play PLUTO was one of the first exposures I’d had to director Andrew Hungerford’s taste, has written a sex farce about octopus rape. And it’s about as good as it sounds. I mean, if that sounds like something you would find hilarious, then this is the play for you.
Know Theatre has a knack for self-referential, ironic, hipster-friendly comedy. And again, if that’s your thing, then this is the show for you. The Welcome Wednesday crowd I saw the show with was laughing hysterically at the antics of Miranda McGee, Cal Harris, James Creque, Eileen Earnest, and Andrew Ian Adams. But it’s certainly not for everyone.
There’s nothing especially deep, thought-provoking, or world-changing about THE FISHERMAN’S WIFE. It’s bawdy, the performances purposefully over the top (it’s a farce!), and Yockey’s penchant for bridging real-world scenarios with the bizarre is definitely on display here. There’s some very detailed puppets. And the intermission entertainment by The Squid and the Octopus showcases Earnest and Adam’s improv chops very nicely. (It was my favorite part of the show.)
But while it is a show about octopus rape, there is a twisted sense of warmth as a dead marriage is rekindled. By octopus rape. And homosexual exploration. And a near-suffocation stopped by a strobe-lit hatchet tentacle-amputation.
Like I said, it’s not for everyone. But Know Theatre, “Cincinnati’s Theatrical Playground” doesn’t exactly strive to be mainstream.
THE FISHERMAN’S WIFE runs through July 16th at Know Theatre. Click here for more information. It obviously contains mature themes and adult content.