Natalie Palamides: Nate
- Craig Angus
- 10 August 2018
2017 Best Newcomer returns with a blistering show about consent
You might expect Natalie Palamides' portrayal in Nate to be a scathing one; for the eponymous character to be a parade of insufferable douchebaggery as a tool to explore the myriad shortcomings of men. It certainly starts that way. Riding in on a tiny bike, he throws his weight around and smashes the place up. Nate then cracks a raw egg directly into his mouth and chugs a can: you think you've got him figured.
Then you notice the can is a Perrier, and remember Palamides hasn't made her name in comedy by doing the obvious thing. While Nate (a character Palamides has been working on since her college days) is depicted as a confrontational bro who likes to get blasted, he's also oppressed and sensitive. Furthermore, he's totally clear on – and on board with – the sexual politics of the day, workshopping consent to hilarious effect with the (mostly keen, but in some cases deeply confused) audience. 'All you gotta do is ask,' he says, adding: 'it's that simple.'
It isn't though. An evening out takes a promiscuous turn and Nate finds himself in an unexpected position. 'Was what I did wrong?' There are a few murmurs in the audience but nothing is clear. It's an extremely uncomfortable moment, and having followed an hour of masterful, hilarious character comedy, it's an effective twist.
Palamides is sensational in this commanding and courageous hour of performance art. The comedy, both the writing and the improv, is fantastic, and the moment where Nate's perspective effortlessly shifts to that of the female is powerfully acted.
The show relies heavily on audience participation and Palamides controls it. 'I hope my message was clear,' says Nate, riding off into the sunset. This conversation has only just started. Nate is a challenging tale from Palamides who's made that difficult second album count and then some.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug (not 13), 6pm, £11–£13 (£10–£12)..