Mayfest Shorts: Nautilus – Wardrobe Theatre


Mayfest has had a little bit of everything this year, from barmy deconstructions of the classics, to one to one miniatures and work that blended art forms and comes out with something wholly unique. What it had been calling out for, which none of us had noticed was a tall, gangly New Zealand mime artist, who put the hilarity into the festival over the course of seventy five increasingly delirious and hilarious minutes. Nominated for an Edinburgh comedy award in 2015, the man with the coolest name in show business, Tygve Wakenshaw’s Nautilus is a one man sketch tour-de-force. Where a lot of the work feels during the festival feels deliberate ‘niche’ the work here already has an accessible streak. This is a show not just for the theatre junkie.

Twisting his limbs into positions that they really don’t look like they should go, he creates a number of brilliant physical creations from a Jurassic Park Dino’s bed rituals to an eye rolling Christ nailed to the cross. These creations would be worth the money on their own but what creates the real giddy, gasping for breath hilarity is the spinning together of different scenarios and taking them off into gloriously left field turns, as though Marcel Marceau’s physicality has gone through the prism of the League Of Gentleman’s imagination. Particular highlights for me in his set include the hungry man who marries a chicken and then forces him into the oven, a mime to an unfortunate man in the front row to Aretha Franklin’s and a finale that fittingly closes a show which keeps things edgy without straying into darker territory.

Sketch after sketch hits the mark and it quickly became one of my festival highlights. He has the ability if he so chooses to take these turns over a sustained piece of work. Though many comedians have struggled in the past to put their sketches into longer form work (Catherine Tate’s Nan fell apart when we were exposed to more than two minutes with her) you feel Wakenshaw has the ability to explore these characters in greater depth. Who ultimately wouldn’t want to spend more time in the company of a sleepy T-Rex?


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