Trygve Wakenshaw: Nautilus
Review by: Cicely Binford
Trygve Wakenshaw takes another dive into the depths of his imagination with a third multi-tentacled mime odyssey, Nautilus. If you’ve seen Kraken and Squidboy, you understand what kind of mad hilarity Wakenshaw is capable of in his one-man shows, and Nautilus is no exception. From minute one, we’re in stitches, and at minute 75, I’m not sure our faces could withstand any more smiling.
Wakenshaw’s limbs appear to me even more improbably long than the last time he came to Fringe, and he turns himself into all kinds of people, animals and things by bending those limbs into impossible shapes and putting them through ridiculous moves. If shape-shifting were a real, actual thing, Wakenshaw would be some sort of master, but it’s not just the contortions that we marvel at: it’s his impeccable comic timing, the ability to juxtapose ideas and images to comic effect, and to combine the banal with the absurd to take us by surprise.
For example (spoiler-ish content ahead, if you’d prefer to look away), he pokes fun at genre tropes: a mean old cowboy walks into a saloon and challenges the wimpy bartender to a pistol fight, playing both parts out in slow motion. He turns fairy tales on their head: Rapunzel complies to the prince’s calls to let her hair down, but the constant tugging on the poor girl’s hair has a rather gruesome effect. He offers fresh punchlines to tired jokes like, “why did the chicken cross the road?” and turns crucifixion into a running joke. Each scene is interspersed with some of the nuttiest disco dancing you’ve ever seen.
He sometimes dips a toe or two into the perverse and subversive, but never just for the sake of it – there’s always a good reason for his mischief, and he never offends. For laughs a minute, you won’t find any better bargain at Fringe World. If you thought mime was all Frenchmen in white face paint walking against invisible cyclonic winds, get yourself into this show immediately and have those preconceptions blown right out to the sea.