Akin to childhood Sunday morning channel surfing, Trygve Wakenshaw’s ‘Nautilus’ is 90 minutes of brilliantly timed, disjointed, (almost) silent mime that finds big laughs for those willing to participate. Taking place at the Herald Theatre, and leaning heavily on the absurdist side, Nautilus rewards those who pay attention to the small details of the seemingly chaotic vignettes.
Upon entering the Herald Theatre, if one found their seat early enough, they would see Trygve out on stage enthusiastically dancing and exhibiting what is seemingly an endless stream of energy; a good indication of what is to come. As the seats begin to fill, Trygve stops dancing and ducks behind the curtain. The theatre quiets down and Trygve emerges once again, ready to start the show. Pulsating with energy, every movement from this point on seems as though it hits with a wall of sound. So poignant are his actions that it’s hard to miss a word, even when there aren’t any. Training under Philippe Gaulier, Trygve is a master of clowning.
Each sketch lasts only a couple of minutes, but numerous characters return throughout the show. Often characters will intertwine with other narratives, sketches becoming increasingly more bizarre as they reach their climaxes. Most of the show is silent, but occasionally this rule will be broken with Trygve uttering specifically chosen words. These occasional bursts of sound elevate the show and create unexpected moments. Highlights from the show take form in: a tale of a chicken and a wolf, a comedian with an itchy crotch, and a striptease that reveals all.
The show faces a few upward battles in its sporadic construction. Occasionally sketches will not resonate with the entire audience, and little emotional connection is created with some. The ability to enjoy the set comes down to how much you enjoy the performer - who you will ultimately become invested in. Connections come in the form of Trygve’s reaction to outbursts from the audience, occasionally breaking character for an uncontrollable laugh or smile.
Whatever small gripes I have with this show ultimately fall at the wayside when confronted with the brilliant collection of vignettes Trygve has constructed. Bringing out the Sunday morning child in me, Nautilus is a show not to be missed.