FESTIVAL FEATURES | Trygve Wakenshaw

F L U W S A N A & L E R O M E T S T P A B



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What’s more entertaining a) a baby or b) a grown man trying to impress you with mime and physical comedy? We’re about to nd out in Trygve Wakenshaw’s latest show, as Brian Donaldson discovers

A couple of months back, footage emerged of New Zealand’s Trygve Wakenshaw dropping a baby while rehearsing for one of his two upcoming Fringe shows. Worryingly, it was during preparations for his afternoon hour, Trygve vs a Baby rather than the evening show, Different Party. Reassuringly, the baby in question was a rubbery doll as opposed to his actual l esh-and-blood child.

Phineas Wakenshaw will be but a mere 13 months old when he makes his Fringe debut. The show is billed as Trygve attempting to prove that he can entertain people better with his mime skills and physical comedy than a toddler can while sitting around or slowly moving about being all cute. As an example of Competitive Dad syndrome, it seems unlikely ever to be matched. ‘After a couple of rehearsals, the problem seems to be not the unpredictability of him doing something amazing, the horrible bit is that quite often he won’t be doing anything particularly amazing,’ states Wakenshaw in mid-June while

taking a break from Fringe preparations in his recently adopted home of Prague. ‘I’m trying to build a show that’s halfway between knowing what I’m doing and not knowing what I’m doing. In other shows where I’ve improvised on stage, I’ve been able to warm it up and there’s been a bit of time so I can get to grips with the improv of the show in front of an audience. But with this, I’m essentially having to wing it on the huge platform that is Edinburgh.’ It’s a platform that has previously taken Wakenshaw Senior to its heart thanks to the innovation and ingenuity of shows such as Squidboy (about the power of a celaphod’s imagination) and Kraken (his depiction of a surrealistically shifting natural world).

In 2015, the third part of his Underwater Trilogy, Nautilus, earned him a spot on the Edinburgh Comedy Award shortlist. ‘I felt that Nautilus was a strong show and probably had the broadest appeal of my work. The hype around Kraken came from other artists and young people who were excited to see something crazy and rebellious, but with Nautilus, it was a bit

20 THE LIST FESTIVAL 3–10 Aug 2017