Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Trygve Wykenshaw


There seems to be no stopping the inexorable rise of clowning on the Fringe. Ever since Dr Brown won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2012 I feel as as I have been inundated by press releases mentioning acts who have trained with esteemed French tutor Philippe Gaulier, who teaches performers to unleash their inner idiot. I don't know if Australian physical comedian Trygve Wykenshaw has done a stint with Gaulier but he has certainly found his inner idiot, prancing around like a loon, sometimes naked, sometimes in a skin-tight costume. Wykenshaw’s previous shows, most notably Kraken, have won him considerable acclaim. Like Dr Brown he is largely wordless. And like Dr Brown he has been known to get his audience onstage. Unlike Dr Brown though, he doesn't scare the shit out of you. His form of immersive performance, impersonating animals, dancing to music, is much more cuddly. If he does approach you in his new show Nautilus, don’t worry, just dive in. You won't regret it.

Trygve Wykenshaw is at the Pleasance from Aug 6 - 30, tickets here.

Picture by Evan Murno Smith.


1. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies, check for spinach between teeth and check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt)?

It's become a lovely tradition to hug everyone in the room and wish them a great show before letting the audience in. Sometimes that includes the venue techs who give the impression that pre show hugs are not what they are being paid for.

2. What irritates you?

Other peoples pessimism and my own hypocrisy about this when I am in a sulky mood.

3. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

Bought a ticket on a Malaysia Airlines flight shortly after the second plane went down (it worked out fine).

4. What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

I performed a one off art show at 2 am in a public car park in Wellington as a German conceptual performance duo with my partner Barnie Duncan (see Calypso Nights: Juan, Two?). we wrote the show on the eight hour drive from Auckland, entrance fee was "a jar of love". And it won the Best Outdoor Performance Award at that years fringe festival.

5. What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy?

When KRAKEN picked up sudden success I was taken aback. I didn't know how to deal with the self imposed pressure of trying to please everybody. Not everyone is going to enjoy a stream-of-conciousness mime hour, but the audiences had heard that this was a "must see" show regardless of what it was. Performing to people who weren't interested in what I do was tough. I hadn't been groomed for that sort of attention.

Interview continues here.

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