The Wild Unfeeling World is an ingenious bit of storytelling; not only is it an innovative and eccentric reimagining of Moby Dick, but a stunning example of a wonderfully modern approach to theatre-making.
'Handmade' theatre: this phrase perhaps speaking more for the apparent intimacy and personality than these words ever could.
Writer and performer Casey Jay Andrews invites into an exceedingly intimate space thats walls chart the story of the piece through the visage of an intriguing investigation. Her friendly, open manner discards the pretensions of performance and sets the tone for the hour. Before long, she begins her tale and we meet Dylan, a Moby Dick by accident, and an unlikely, yet fun recreation of the famous Captain Ahab.
The first, most obvious thing to note about The Wild Unfeeling World is that it feels wildly fresh; the way the story is presented and the tone is achieved feels very much unlike anything you might have seen before but still utterly natural. At one point, Casey refers to her creation as ‘handmade’ theatre. This phrase perhaps speaking more for the apparent intimacy and personality than these words ever could.
We feel Casey as a person penetratingly at the core of the design, story and writing – her individuality and what she presents as a theatre-maker is the core of the piece; arguably at times at the sacrifice of the storytelling, as well-meaning but tangential interludes take us away from the narrative, though pep us up with enchanting and insightful musings. Similarly, while Dylan’s story is lovingly crafted, it is one seemingly very easy to get lost in as we are quickly whisked around a vignette-structured tour of West London.
This is another interesting feature of the piece, the prominent adoration for London – a very unlikely setting for anything to do with Moby Dick. Casey triumphs in establishing London as – like the ocean – a place of great wonder but also perspectival hostility. All in all, it seems Casey can't resist rebelling against the titular quality of 'unfeeling' with an affirmation of warmth – not just her own, or her characters, but of London's.
This reimagined tale is packed with everything you could hope to find in such a show; it’s an exceedingly fun and endlessly eclectic adventure, but it stands out with its beautiful design and breathtakingly honest performance.