Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

28/04/2015 - 02/05/2015

4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth

09/06/2024 - 09/06/2024

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015

Winter Fest: Traranaki Arts Festival 2024

Production Details


Following his outstanding FRED award winning performance at last year’s festival our very own loveable idiot Trygve Wakenshaw returns to NZ to premiere his highly anticipated new physical comedy NAUTILUS at the Herald Theatre from 28 April – 2 May, 2015.
Maker of popular cult physical comedies KRAKEN and SQUIDBOY Wakenshaw has sold out in Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth London, Edinburgh and even Oslo. Both works have also raked in the awards with SQUIDBOY picking up Best Performance at the Auckland Fringe 2013 and Chapman Tripp Award for Most Original Production 2013.Trygve’s second show KRAKEN followed suit picking up the Underbelly Edinburgh Award, Adelaide and was nominated for both the Barry Award and the Golden Gibbo award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Last year he also took home the top festival accolade – The FRED Award.

Local and international favourite Trygve Wakenshaw, armed with his distinctive brand of comedy is yet again set to make waves with NAUTILUS at the 2015 NZ International Comedy Festival.
‘A hilarious hour of inspired physical comedy…Wakenshaw’s physicality is perfect.’ – Chortle
‘Delirious and surreal physical comedy…Boundlessly absurd’ ★★★★★ – The Age‘Beautiful madness’ ★★★★ – SBS‘A blissfully funny hour of physical stream-of-consciousness and a joyous excuse to embrace your childish side.’ ★★★★★ – Time Out

‘Reminiscent of the young Jim Carrey…rubber-faced, loose-limbed and wondrously expressive.”
★★★★ – The Independent

‘Resistance to this relentless assault of naivete, boyish charm and naughtiness is futile’ ★★★★★ – Metro

‘Beautiful Oddness’ ★★★★ – Scotsman

As part of the 2015 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, for some great laughs, grab your favourite people and join us from 24 April – 17 May. For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to
Dates: Tue 28 April – Sat 2 May 2015
Venue: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Dr
Tickets: $22 – $30 (booking fees apply)
Bookings: 09 970 9700 //


With sell-out shows around the globe and awards from all four corners of the earth, it would be an unspeakable crime to miss this.

Recommended for ages 12+

4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth
Sun 9 Jun, 7:00pm
Admission service fees apply

Comedy , Theatre , Physical Theatre ,

90 mins

A madcap, brilliant, fabulously funny, hilariously naughty tonic

Review by Taryn Utiger 10th Jun 2024

Mime superstar Trygve Wakenshaw is a gift. A gargantuanly funny, terrifically twisted and superbly spirited gift.

Now based in Prague, the mime maestro has returned to New Zealand to tour his award-winning show Nautilus, and oh boy, it would be a crime to miss something this insanely good.

Joyfully leaping onto the stage, the endearing and long-limbed clown immediately pulls the audience into his world, revealing a mind that is playfully funny on the surface, but deliciously dark in the nooks and crannies.

Trygve flips well known tales on their head, expands childhood jokes into existential crises, and layers storytelling with mime and soundscape so effectively you’ll think you’ve slipped into a stream of consciousness pulled from the talents of Monty Python.

He contorts his long and limber body into a myriad of characters and creatures, so easily taking us into the mind of a chicken, the exploding body of a cowboy and the revenge plots of animals wronged by predators.

One moment his limbs are light and airy, resembling jellyfish floating in the sea, and the next they are stiff and rigid, pressed hard-up against concrete castles and the inside of an oven. His shapeshifting body has all the imaginative flexibility of a toddler who does not want to get into their pyjamas, and yet he has such a deep understanding of the physical form that his control of his body seems effortless.

Born in New Zealand, Trygve moved to Paris to train with the French master clown and playwright, Philippe Gaulier. Known for helping students uncover their own unique clown, Philippe Gaulier is said to teach the beauty of freedom, the pleasure of being on stage, and the importance of a wonderful spirit in clowning.

Those qualities have gleefully infected Trygve’s style. He is an absolute joy to watch. And it’s not only his limber and masterly physical theatre skills, or even his imaginative peppering of vocal work and soundscape, it’s the richness of his storytelling. It’s how he pairs those talents and skills with an intriguing narrative, and then fires that narrative right into the heart of a deliciously dark and sometimes shocking denouement.

Without giving too much away, Trygve has this wonderful ability to take tiny moments, snippets of everyday life, and even childhood bedtime stories, and extrapolate them into a tale so vibrant that you find yourself invested in the emotional stability of a sheep. Or cackling maniacally over furballs, snorting about Jesus and indeed crying tears of laughter about a self-basting chicken, because he’s just so clever and oh so ridiculous.

Nautilus is a tonic. A tonic for the latest dire headlines, the chills of winter, and the playful inner child we’ve all covered in a cloak of day-in and day-out. It’s madcap and brilliant and worthy of every international award Trygve has amassed.

He’s fabulously funny, hilariously naughty, and a true king of (almost) silent comedy. Give yourself a gift and go and see Nautilus.


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Engaging, challenging and at times confronting

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 30th Apr 2015

Trygve Wakenshaw’s latest solo show, Nautilus*, makes it abundantly clear that if you give this bold, fearless, talented artist an empty space, he will both entertain and expand your mind. 

He’s described as a ‘loveable idiot’ in his press kit, which gives the impression his material and presentation is accessible and humorous. And yes, much of Nautilus is exactly that. However, some of his scenes are also subversive, thought-provoking and have far more socio-political punch than most comedy shows.

In the same vein as his previous sell-out solo shows Kraken and Squidboy, Nautilus is a fantastic mix of Wakenshaw’s trademark physical comedy, cheeky expressions (which my date reckons are reminiscent of Ralph Fiennes) and extraordinary impressions.

Content-wise, I get the feeling Wakenshaw’s mind is noisy, fanciful, and constantly exploding with concepts and philosophies that deserve an expression. Editing them into a digestible series of sketches must be hard for someone so creative. Which is probably why Nautilus is currently about 15 minutes too long.

No doubt over time, the sketches that need tightening, or need an end, will be attended to. For example, while the mime of a standard stand up comedian extrapolating laughs a plenty without saying a word is great, the character may appear once too often. And in terms of sketches needing an end, while Natural Woman is a fabulous subtle slow burner, part 2 of the gag is left flapping in the comedy breeze.

Wakenshaw’s mesmerising impersonations are an integral part of each sketch: the vexing question facing chickens, young birds, dinosaurs, a hungry cat, an unfulfilled cuckoo, the horny macho cowboy, a cow, a sheep who is eager to please, a magician, a jazz ensemble (a player-by-player showcase, including an unexpected ‘floss’ solo), slow-mo action reply, a frustrated Jesus, Rapunzel with a Trygve-twist, and an actor stuck in his own limelight. All are brilliant. 

In terms of characters, his macho cowboy is particularly interesting as he fusses about, ordering the perfect beer with just the right amount of calories and strength, before making a move on any female species to hand, referencing the very best of Looney Tunes and Dick Tracy as he does so. 

While Wakenshaw’s use of actual words is sparing, when he does slip in an audible comment, such as “all the way home”, it is perfectly placed and hilarious. His mash up of charades and ‘knock knock’ jokes is another audience highlight. 

As the stories start to interweave and inevitably entangle, Wakenshaw juxtaposes fascinating combinations, such as dinosaurs and bedtime rituals like brushing teeth and iPhone tweets. Similarly, when the cats meet the cuckoo, things get really interesting.

The moments I find most engaging are when a seemingly entertaining story takes a political turn, such as when the magician’s show takes a sinister turn as the rabbit is not just pulled out of the hat, but enhanced with pretty lipstick, mascara and perfume… By the time the magician finishes his act, I feel very guilty for wearing all three products.

Similarly, when we, the audience, are asked by Wakenshaw (playing a marriage celebrant at the time) for comment on the union of an unlikely couple, and we react in silence…. What happens next, as the celebrant shows just how deep his love of his profession and deity are, is as confronting as it is true.

Some concepts are not entirely new – Wakenshaw unravels a strip tease act in a similar way to Robbie Williams in his song, Rock DJ (where Williams tried to impress a female DJ by stripping naked and then removing his skin and muscles, ending up as a skeleton). Robbie’s version didn’t include a fabulous costume malfunction though. 

Rather than segue between these stories and scenes, Wakenshaw takes creative ‘time out’, frozen in what could be interpreted as his version of Rodin’s bronze statue, The Thinker’**. A guitar version of the aria Habanera from the opera Carmen plays each time. As a convenient way to move from scene to scene, it’s fitting, yet a few more variations on the theme could evolve the device even more. 

Nautilus is engaging, challenging and at times confronting.

So if you are looking for something completely different over the comedy festival that will shake up your sensibilities, yet still satisfy your funny bone, go see this man do his thing in Nautilus.
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* A Nautilus is a type of marine mollusk – thanks Wikipedia. 
** ‘The Thinker’ is often used as an image to represent philosophy – thanks Wikipedia


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Alone in the spotlight: a thespian equivalent of a one-man band

Review by Janet McAllister 30th Apr 2015

In this stripped-down show, one of New Zealand’s most talented clowns makes magic out of nothing, alone in his spotlight, tights and singlet. Trygve Wakenshaw – a 3m beanpole sprouting a shock of blond cockatoo hair – holds our attention for 80 minutes using only short skits.

This is quite a feat; the lack of overarching narrative makes for a thin show but his physical and almost-wordless vocal prowess makes it an amusing one. The thespian equivalent of a one-man band, Wakenshaw becomes a Loony Tunes-style animation come to life, complete with knockout crowns of tweeting birds and enthusiastic leg kicks. [More]


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