Focus on: Trygve Wakenshaw

Kiwi comedian Trygve Wakenshaw is, as of about a year ago, part of a double act. John Stansfield finds a star ready to be upstaged

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Trygve vs A Baby
Published 22 Jul 2017

Award-winning mime artist Trygve Wakenshaw is wary that during his new show he may well get some heckles; it's unlikely that they'll be any you'll have heard before however. “‘Don’t rock him!’ ‘Let him be!’ ‘He’s hungry!’ ‘He’s too hot!’ Everyone’s going to have an opinion,” he says. 

Although Wakenshaw believes his offspring, co-star of his new show, Trygve vs a Baby, to be a consummate professional, he acknowledges that one-year-old Phinneas does have something of a tendency to go off script. "I had some ideas with things that he’s done when we’ve been playing together, and then I tried it out in front of a small audience and he had no interest in doing that stuff at all."

Phinneas is a good bet for the youngest performer at the Fringe this year – does Wakenshaw have any concerns about the potential for turning the whippersnapper into a comedy diva? "That’s what I’m really worried about. He loves people though; we take him on flights and he’ll get a bit fussy with us in the seat so we’ll hold him a bit higher and he can see everyone behind us and he’ll start waving and blowing everybody kisses. He loves it."

There is also the worry that working with such an inexperienced performer might bring with it some rookie errors, leading to the odd tantrum. "I do have a bit of a contingency [plan] but if he’s really not enjoying himself I’ll just stop and do some nice parenting. No one wants to see you push through a show that the baby clearly isn’t enjoying."

It’s not just the mime performances that Phinneas is taking over; he has become the focus of the whole family’s business dealings, as Wakenshaw’s wife, Lisa, has begun teaching baby yoga. "He’s a feature of her job now," Wakenshaw gushes. "We’ve got him working for us. We’ll give him extra pocket money when he can understand it."

With Phinneas calling the shots, it’s sure to be an interesting Fringe for the Wakenshaws.