Theatre review: Trygve Wakenshaw & Barnie Duncan: Different Party

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: The weirdly hilarious opening to this two-handed physical comedy is almost worth the entrance fee alone, as our two hosts – Kiwi comedians Trygve Wakenshaw and Barnie Duncan, appearing within the NZ at Edinburgh showcase strand – silently stride on the spot towards another day at work, stopping to hand their business card to toddlers in a fake 1980s-style “credit sequence” soundtracked by John Carpenter’s frostily electronic Escape From New York theme.

Assembly Roxy (Venue 139)


The piece starts as it means to go on, with the duo’s day at Rucks’s Leather Interiors (“imagine a house covered in skin...” is their ­unsurprisingly ineffective phone-­answering technique) chronicled with minimal talk and maximum expressive vigour. The pair play perfectly off one another, their performances well-balanced despite the singularly uncanny, gangling physical skills of Wakenshaw, who made his Edinburgh breakthrough in 2013 with Squidboy.

Appearing elsewhere in a show with his own baby, Wakenshaw is a ­strikingly good mime and clown, as well as a comedian, and a sequence where he keeps on sliding from a high stool which would be easier just to sit on is dazzlingly funny. Duncan is more of a classic comedy talent, and each is, by turns, stooge and straightman, pratfalling off a missing chair, attempting to share an impossible handshake with one another which takes all morning, or launching into random, perfectly observed animal impersonations.

The aesthetic of the performances is odd, and bizarrely there were a few walkouts in the show by people who clearly just couldn’t click with it. Yet far more were in stitches at a piece which was indescribably singular. In its finely-honed silliness it feels like the Mighty Boosh with John Cleese in a lead role. A Fringe comedy unlike any other you’re likely to see this year.

Until 27 August. Today 8:30pm.