Trygve Wakenshaw – Nautilus

By Elyce Phillips Trygve Wakenshaw - Nautilus pic

I first saw Nautilus back in 2015, when it was still a 90-minute-long work-in-progress. Since then, Wakenshaw has toured it around, picked up an award nomination in Edinburgh and tightened it up to 75 minutes. It’s a hilarious, unique piece of comedic theatre that’ll have you sympathising with chickens and laughing at silent stand-up.

Wakenshaw’s use of mime is masterful, constructing detailed worlds on the stage out of thin air. The verbal language of Nautilus is limited. There’s a couple of key phrases and some animal sounds, but most of Wakenshaw’s communication is through movement. Nautilus makes you keenly aware of just how much of our language can be deduced from our physicality. A section of the show in which Wakenshaw imitates a stand-up comedian at work really highlighted this. Without telling a single joke, the audience knew exactly where the act was at, laughing at all the right beats.

There’s a meaningful moral thread that runs through Nautilus. At different points of the show, Wakenshaw tells the story of a man pursuing three animals – a sheep, a cow and a chicken. In each situation, the man is wanting to exploit the animal against its will to get its wool or milk or eggs, and you can hear the audience sympathising deeply with the animals. It’s not a subtle message – Wakenshaw is pretty clearly referencing our consumption of animal products and I suspect he’s a vegan – but it feels covert due to the delivery method. It’s a wonderful message and Wakenshaw gets it across without being preachy, and he keeps everyone in hysterics the whole way through.

Nautilus is a fabulous combination of the silly and the serious. Wakenshaw has created a really special show here that brings together the audience in a beautiful way. This is clowning and mime that plays at the top of everyone’s intelligence.

Trygve Wakenshaw’s Nautilus was on at The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne

Different Party by Trygve Wakenshaw and Barnie Duncan

By Angela East
Different Party

As the audience take their seats Trygve Wakenshaw and Barnie Duncan—or rather, Grareth Krubb and Dennis Chang—welcome you into Rucks’s Leather Interiors showroom. They hand out business cards while running a sales pitch for their leather goods with the catch phrase “imagine a room covered in skin” and they admire any leather products people in the audience have with them.

The welcome is the extent of the audience interaction. The rest of the performance takes place on stage in the ‘office’. With minimal dialogue, their brilliant skills in clowning and physical theatre take the audience through their absurd day. There is whimsical exploration of their office relationship. Briefcases become dogs. Everyday office banter mutates into surreal scenarios. And in a fight of dominance they take on animalistic behaviours to explore their underlying sexual tension in absurd acrobatic displays.

The most ordinary office staples such as coffee cups and sheets of paper are used in a variety of hilariously unexpected ways. The simple act of looking for a pen while on a phone call becomes a madly chaotic farce.

Trygve and Barnie are masters at clowning and together in Different Party they form a great odd-couple comedy partnership. The never-ending source of slapstick and visual gags from the various props around the stage is inspired: a wafer biscuit snack becomes a believable cigarette, a pot plant is involved in a ridiculously funny running gag, and a scenario on the sourcing of leather for a new chair cover is hilariously grotesque.

Both performers have been being nominated for various fringe and comedy festival awards in the past few years and Different Party shows why. Trygve and Barnie each have other shows on during the festival (Nautilus, and Weekend at Barnies respectively) and if Different Party is anything to go by, those two shows will also worth trying to catch.

Different Party is at ACMI until April 23rd

5 Good reasons to see Trygve Wakenshaw: NAUTILUS

1) it’s made by Trygve Wakenshaw who’s previous show KRAKEN absolutely killed it in international festivals where people have class and refined tasted and did moderately well in Perth where people are from West Australia.

2) there’s a great scene in it.

3) it’s nearly entirely mimed. No more having to listen to some hack stand-up comedians telling jokes.

4) it will make you feel cool to be one of the first people in the world to see this show.

5) it’s quite likely to be nominated for a Barry Award (judging by Trygve’s track record).

Trygve Wakenshaw: NAUTILUS is on at The Tuxedo Cat. For Bookings and information go to the website:

Kraken by Trygve Wakenshaw

By Alanta Colley

The multi- award-winning Gaulier-trained performer Trygve Wakenshaw is back this comedy festival with a brand new adventure in the genre of physical theatre.

Wakenshaw presents a veritable stream of consciousness expressed through the medium of mime. Surreal, otherworldly, dictated entirely by an internal logic of association, this mime escapade wanders through worlds of abstract imaginings; from births of baby animals, to the land of television, into the sky, into musical creation and on. Wakenshaw deftly plays with mime tropes; both mocking and revitalising them.

His mime is so evocative the entire audience lurches and recoils with each new action; our willing suspension of disbelief in full throttle. As he swallows unlikely objects we fear for his wellbeing; as he transmogrifies into any number of animals we blithely get on board. There seems to be few concepts which he can’t communicate through mime. Rarely will you witness an audience this captivated. Wakenshaw’s persona is cheeky, playful, tiptoeing on the edge of clumsy and larger than life. He alternates between a child-like innocence and projecting a wanton touch of macabre, keeping the audience on the edge of surprise and delight for the entire hour
Wakenshaw uses words sparingly, though when he does his deep, Shakespearian tone takes us by surprise. The effect is delightful. His use of frugal use of props is effective and testament to his skills as a performer. Wakenshaw commands an extraordinary physicality in the tradition of Mr Bean, and in a similar league with Boy With Tape on His Face, but of a much more surreal school. The show employs generous lashings of audience participation in an entirely playful, fun and cheeky manner. While the performance would have required an enormous amount of energy to deliver it never loses the feeling of being a game.

This show is utterly captivating, deeply imaginative and uproariously hilarious. Wakenshaw is one of a kind. An absolute must see this Festival; you’re watching an absolute master at work.

Kraken is on at The Tuxedo Cat until April 19