What do you buy for the person who has everything? Mime tickets! Obviously.
Now you don't hear too much about mimes these days - they're not the most quotable people, certainly onstage - but one physical comic who has broken through the glass ceiling/invisible wall thing over the last decade is the quietly brilliant Trygve Wakenshaw, who's from Hastings (New Zealand), studied with Philippe Gaulier in Paris and has won awards in numerous nations, plus an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination in 2015, for Nautilus.
His latest venture, Only Bones v1.4, gets a world premiere at the Soho Theatre early next month, as part of the London International Mime Festival. It's a minimalist epic based on the work of a compatriot.
"Thomas Monckton created the original Only Bones with a set of working parameters that he hoped to share with other performers to develop the form of physical performance," Wakenshaw explains. "I saw it, I loved it, I said 'Mr Monckton, sir, may I also work within these parameters?' He said 'Get in line buddy.'"
"There are currently five other performers making different Only Bones's. Each one is different. Each one is linked. Comedically, I think it would be like challenging stand-ups to create a show about only one subject matter.
"Everyone would have a different experience and view of that subject matter, everyone would find different and similar ways of constructing gags, and everyone would start exploring the edges of their comedy, scraping the bowl for every morsel of comedy that subject matter contains."
A pretty unique present, we think you'll agree. It's better to Trygve than to receive.
I've always loved to be onstage. So my first gig ever in my memory was as an orphan boy in a production of Bizet's Carmen, I was maybe eight or nine, so 1990ish. I remember the heavy make-up we had to wear, the smell of it, very creamy and make-uppy. I remember exploring the dusty old opera house and snooping in the old empty dressing rooms backstage.
I remember the strange feeling of knowing the set wasn't really a Spanish town square, but not being sure why I thought that (but the fact everything, down to the stone stairways, was made of painted wood and on wheels was probably a giveaway)
Favourite show, ever?
My first year performing in Edinburgh with my friend Barnie Duncan in a strange comedy history play called Constantinople. It was wild. We were in a karaoke bar performing every midnight, handing out flyers on Royal Mile dressed in togas as the rain came down, I saw so much comedy and theatre. I was drunk on culture. One night Johnny Depp came to the show. Every one of those gigs was my favourite.
Somewhere in the Netherlands. After a pretty bleak tour of performing mostly to twenty or thirty pensioners in 200-seat venues in a different theatre each night, I showed up to a full house. I think it was mostly rent-a-crowd from a local high school or two who spent the whole, brief show heckling, making fart noises, commenting in Dutch. The theatre ushers did nothing, the technicians did nothing. I was alone, onstage, as a mime, performing the show which had gone so well in Edinburgh the year before. After 20 minutes I took a bow, left the stage and sobbed alone under a cold shower.
Which one person influenced your comedy life most significantly?
My former producer. She saw something in me, supported me, championed me, took all the work of admin and promotion that I was so terrible at, let me play and experiment and be creative. Without her my life would have gone in quite a different direction I think.
And who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?
No one specifically but I think there are companies who have found ways to make the Edinburgh Fringe a financially profitable experience for themselves. I think they make it difficult for diversity, creativity and experimentation to blossom there. And I think Ed Fringe is a place that should have those.
Is there one routine/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?
Yes. It was an owl who kept appearing and asking "who?" To any other character on stage. Then a cricket appeared and explained that he was a cricket by miming a game of cricket. I think it's more inexplicable that I loved the routine than it is that the audience didn't.
Any useful tips for potential new mime performers?
Be funny, have funny. There is nothing sadder than mime and comedy without a twinkle in the eyes.
Are there particular reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions that stick in the mind?
One drunk lad in Scotland had been noisily hating the show for a while. His mates all left, and as he went to leave he stepped onto stage with a mime shotgun in his hand and fired it at me. I was fine, but the audience were a bit on edge after that.
How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?
I was up a mountain for a while then I made a few moves and lost my footing and tumbled down into the valley. But I seemed to keep walking, not knowing what else to do and I can see that up ahead of me is a new path. I've no idea if it will take me back up that same mountain, up a different one or into some lovely meadow. But the scenery is getting better.