When I last saw Nathan and ida they were promoting their brand new show Nathan & Ida’s Hot Dog Stand which was about to show at the Offbeat Festival in Oxford back in 2017.
They were trepidatious, having no idea how well their homegrown double-hander would go down with an Oxford audience.
Suffice to say the classic rags-to-riches tale: an homage to real-life European emigrants who opened up their own hot dog stand in New York as part of the great American Dream, in which Nathan and Ida play over 25 characters between them, sold out.
It was an immediate success, and having toured pretty much non stop since then, the pair are now back with the next instalment Tropez!
“We’ve been to festivals all over the world as far away as Norway and Prague as well as two weeks on stage in London. We always felt our comedy would work well internationally,” Nathan tells me.
“When it sold out in Oxford we realised we were doing something right so decided to keep going, which has been really thrilling.”
Nathan Peter Grassi is from Australia and Ida Berglöw Kenneway from Sweden. They met in Oxford through comedy group Dead Secrets and have worked together ever since.
“We have the same sense of humour and theatrical style – a penchant for surreal, physical comedy. We complement each other, which works really well,” Nathan explains.
Tropez is their second show, so how does it differ? “The two shows are quite different actually. Tropez is modern and whacky and screwball – a 1950s French farce without doors. While Hot Dog Stand is more heart-warming,” Nathan says.
“So while we continue to tour Hot Dog, Tropez means we have something more to our repertoire, and to offer to festivals. Tropez doesn’t need a set so it’s easier to transport. So we now have something to suit everyone.”
The duo’s next show Tempest Fugit (time flies in latin) is about a couple who live in an enchanted cuckoo clock, but in the meantime you can catch the current two shows in a glorious double bill at OFS tomorrow.
So is it nice bringing their work back to Oxford? “There is a really good community of people creating original work in Oxford and Offbeat has really helped that talent emerge and be seen. We can’t praise it enough.”
As for Ida and Nathan, he says they are friends first and comedy partners second. “We get on so well,” Nathan adds, “so we always find a way to work together even if we don’t always agree.”
Nathan & Ida: Double Bill will be performed at Arts at the Old Fire Station on Saturday 18 January. Tickets are available at www.oldfirestation.org.uk or 01865 263990.