What’s great about theatre is that there isn’t a rule book as to what makes for a great show. The assumption is that if a show has a gripping narrative, then that’s 90% of the theatre experience covered, however, Trygve Wakenshaw subverts this notion, instead presenting a comic strip of absurd ideas that have the sold out auditorium chuckling from the get go.
A Cheshire cat smile never ceases to leave my face as the 75 minute long show, Nautilus, unravels out of its resilient shell to reveal a ‘not going to take myself too seriously’ aura. Wakenshaw brings his very own circus to town with his quirky selection of the kooky, the quirky and the darn right bizarre. Wakenshaw’s interpretation of the clown is authentic, he has the audience invested into his every well thought out move, every animated facial expression and every sketch. What’s great about the evening is that as soon as Wakenshaw enters the space, the notion of trying to overly think about what is happening, or what is going to happen next is subtly encouraged to be left by the foyer, and a complete suspension of belief shrouds the evening.
Nautilus isn’t afraid of its non linear structure, instead it embraces it with such gumption that the audience have no other option but to embrace the various paths it ventures on. Fairytales are always a great place to start in terms of the suspension of belief, and Wakenshaw realising this, brilliantly takes on the Rapunzel tale, presenting a short skit as to what would truly happen if a prince were to climb her iconic flowing tresses. Wakenshaw’s physical theatre skill has him build a castle onstage in which he circles and climbs in such a genius manner that you can only but applaud his efforts. This sense of magic that Wakenshaw brings is priceless, he makes the impossible seem possible. Taking inspiration from the famous ‘why did the chicken cross the road?’ joke, Wakenshaw comically flaps around the stage whilst simultaneously becoming the traffic in which he has to swerve in order to reach his end goal. A brilliant section that has you questioning why? But answering with ‘why not’ also.
Keeping with the chicken theme, other skits include a chicken marrying a human; both with different intentions. This skit is a great way of looking at the farming of chickens, and our future on this planet in terms of food resources. Wakenshaw cleverly integrates themes of sustainability into his work, and has you quietly thinking about a range of subjects. Wakenshaw depicts a sheep having its fur shaved off, only to realise that it will need something to wrap up warm, and therefore ends up fashioning a new jumper quite resourcefully out of its very own fur… recycling at its very best!
Unpredictability truly keeps the evening afloat, the evening turns down a looney tunes cartoon avenue with an animated bar tender continually being flummoxed by an overly health conscious customer never quite being happy with the drink he’s being served. This sketch has to be one of my favourites, alongside Jesus taking a day off and peeling himself off of his stained glassed window to go for a swim as they both make you realise just how in a league of his own Wakenshaw is. Watching Nautilus is like nothing else you will see, its truly unique and a must watch comedy show of 2016! 4.5/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Nautilus was shown at the Soho Theatre as part of this year’s London International Mime Festival from Monday 11th to Saturday 23rd January 2016. The show will return to Soho Theatre from Monday 29th February until Wednesday 9th March. For more information on the production, visit here…
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