How does a human, dressed as a fish, performing musical hits, sound to you? Not very convincing, at least not to me. The Astonishing Singing Fish is one of those plays, that if you don’t see it, you can’t really imagine it. It is utterly bizarre and made in a way you have probably never seen before and under the direction of Georgia Murphy, it astonished the audience of The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre.
The play portrays the story of Alex, who was a regular goldfish until his owner’s laboratory experiment turned out disastrous, turning Alex into The Astonishing Singing Fish. First, his only ability seems to be speaking English, but it doesn’t take long to realise that there is much more to this fish. He is incredibly intelligent and has an exceptional ability to sing. And all he wishes for is sharing his talent with the world. Inside this little forgetful fish, there is an ambitious dream of becoming a performer and being part of Les Misérables, and with the help of his best friend his wish comes true, but everything comes with a price.
The Astonishing Singing Fish is indeed astonishing. Being a two-hander, I was surprised by the energetic performance and how easily it filled the room with laughter. Tice Oakfield, who is also the author of the text and music, and Leo Elso make the characters likeable from the moment they come on stage and they enchant the audience with their incredible voices and dancing. They bring to life some of the most remarkable musical songs and perform them with a twist in lyrics or melody.
This is a bizarre comedy and to be believable, the actors had to perform with more energy, use bigger gestures and make everything more dramatic, to get the feedback they wanted and deserved. What you give is what you get, and they received a lot of supportive responses from the audience. From start to finish there were giggles, laughs and possibly some tears.
What caught my attention was the simple scene design. With only a microphone and an aquarium, combined with their amazing storytelling, they brought us from one place to another without causing the slightest confusion. They were humble and kept it simple, and it was all about using your imagination.
The Astonishing Singing Fish is an incredible achievement, reminding us, that good theatre is much more about passionate performance than a big budget, famous cast and shiny costumes. In the end, it all comes to doing what you love with passion and with the actors clearly lived in every moment of the performance. The play is inspiring and it reminds you that no matter how big your dream is, everything is possible. If a fish can make it to West End, anyone can achieve their dreams.