Nate review: An achingly funny gender-parody

Dublin Fringe Festival: This roaring figure of bruised machismo isn’t the obvious choice to lead a workshop on sexual consent

Nate: a roadie-hirsute man who pulls miniature motorcycle stunts. Photograph: Nick Rasmussen

Nate: a roadie-hirsute man who pulls miniature motorcycle stunts. Photograph: Nick Rasmussen

 

NATE

Project Arts Centre
★★★★☆
A roaring, roadie-hirsute man who pulls miniature motorcycle stunts, crushes cans on his forehead and chops wood until it’s forcibly subdued, Nate doesn’t immediately seem like the best person to lecture us in sexual consent.

But the surprise of Natalie Palamides’s achingly funny gender-parody is how quickly her alter-ego becomes as naked and exposed as she is, an artless man-boy who approaches the audience palms first, asking, at hilariously inappropriate proximity, “May I?”

Improv, at its most giddying, is a matter of mutual, enthusiastic and ongoing consent too, and in the flexibility her show allows, the quick-witted Palamides is a master of it. When the bitterly jilted Nate alighted on a couple who represent Fringe royalty, the audience response might have floored another performer. But the impressive, elastically endowed Nate never gropes for laughs. Such rapport makes one impressively conjured later moment startlingly uncomfortable. You may not have easy answers for the sly challenge packed in this outrageous comedy. But at least he’s asking.

Runs as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival until Saturday, September 21st