Natalie Palamides @ Pleasance Courtyard

Hilarious and unsettling – Natalie Palamides’ performance in Nate is an undoubted triumph

Review by Paul Mitchell | 14 Aug 2018
  • Natalie Palamides in Nate

Well now, this is something special indeed. Natalie Palamides puts on a masterful display, managing to make us question both the settings of our moral compasses and laugh uncontrollably (often uncomfortably so) all at once.

'Nate Palamino' is enduring a torrid time – he’s frustrated by a failed relationship while his sense of identity and methods of expression are bound up in many of the typically phallocentric tropes associated with ‘masculinity’. Yet Nate is also portrayed as a considerate soul (penchant for violence aside – and even violence has a moral code) and these facets aren’t made to feel contradictory. Anything can be OK as long as you ask (or ‘axe’) and receive a yes or a no. But is it so simple and binary?

In Palamides’ vision, things aren’t so absolute. The division in audience opinion proves testament to the thesis. Implicit peer pressure is employed to generate a variety of uncomfortable scenarios which are acquiesced to by participants who may feel they have no choice; Nate is in the spotlight, in charge as it were, and he has, in fact, asked! What are you going to do about it?

It’s weighty subject matter, and yet Palamides, ad-libbing to the inevitable audience curveballs (en Español if required), shows us that exploring our consciences can be both provoking and exceptionally entertaining.

Natalie Palamides: Nate, Pleasance Courtyard (Beside), 1-26 Aug (not 13), 6pm, £7-13

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