Having both received a Highly Commended in Playwrights b4 25 2018 and won the teenage category of Plays for the Young in 2017, Courtney Rose Brown’s Running Late has a bit of a reputation to uphold. On top of its accolades, any show with a completely sold out season creates a buzz of its own, so I was excited to say the least. To add to the opening night hype, audience members were offered the Beth Taylor touch™ of branded Running Late sugar cookies. They tasted great—if you were wondering.
Uther Dean’s ‘Elevation’ is a piece of classic, warm stand-up comedy that lifts the room. Its lightness is exactly what Dean says he is aiming for, following a heavy season of his 2018 NZICF show My Fat/Sad, and while ‘Elevation’ does dip into some serious content, its playfulness is what makes it most memorable. Over the next hour, Dean takes us on a surprising journey with the oddly thorough dissection of the U2 song ‘Elevation’.
Welcome to Kandallah Academy of Performing Arts! It’s 1982 and dopest dances and coolest singers prepare for a new term in their very best and brighest leg warmers. The completely improvised show is presented by with an extremely varied cast bursting with talent, ego and 80s references. Kickin’ Rad Productions deliver an episodic season of their colourful improv show for the Comedy Festival entry.
by Laura Ferguson
Eli Mathewson is a queer, geeky, boardgaming, Classics degree holder who has never used it until now with his new show Myth and Legend. I am a queer, geeky, board game-hoarding, Classics degree having person myself. When I read the synopsis for Mathewson’s show, I didn’t just think Cool, that sounds like me, I thought, Holy Elysium fields, this IS me. I am almost definitely going to be biased towards this show so I brought a non-ancient history obsessed friend along as a gauge for universal hilarity.
Tui Christie is an eighteen year old comedian with a lot of energy and even more talent. Gifted is her debut solo comedy show. Performed in front of a small audience in the Studio at BATS, Christie delights us with jokes about her family, becoming an adult, and the meaninglessness of life itself.
by Laura Ferguson
How could I possibly resist a show that has a cute, little, orange kitteh on the poster? For me, it’s impossible, so along I go to Brendon Green’s Of Consequence. Having seen Green a couple of years ago with a very feline-themed show, I was looking forward the the comedian’s brand of storytelling humour. Sitting down, I feel that same familiarity I felt last time, Green’s presence is fun, friendly and relaxing, like a bubble bath of comedy.
I’m a serial student. Primary, secondary, and tertiary education done – but wait, there’s more! I’ve gone into postgrad education and am currently working on Masters. Why, you ask? Expelling my personal, psychological, and terrible financial reasoning for a moment, learning institutions are exciting. Here, there is focus. Here, there is experimentation. Here, there is pushing the boundaries. As humans, we are never more exciting than when we’re learning, which is why I was squealing to go to the New Zealand School of Dance’s choreographic season for 2019 ORBICULUS. Thirteen dances, each choreographed by a graduating student, and directed by Victoria Colombus.
Me ’n’ Ma is a wholesome and delightful addition to this year’s Comedy Festival. We are welcomed into the space by a beaming Hamish Parkinson who offers popcorn and lemonade on the way to our seats. He greets every audience member with warmth and gratitude, setting the tone for the heart-warming 55 minutes ahead.
The Good Guys: the Goodest Show in Town is an annual NZICF charity event featuring a line-up of some of the Fest’s best to fundraise for Spinning Top. This year’s diverse range of comedy features MC Ben Hurley and comedians Jeremy Elwood, Brynley Stent, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Raybon Kan, Rhian Wood-Hill, and Justine Smith.
James Malcolm Is Throwing a Party and you’re invited! The two-time Billy T award nominee celebrates his fabulousness in his new Comedy Festival entry. The party theme is brilliantly conveyed through the metallic balloons and rainbow piñata on stage of the Te Auaha theatre. Each audience seat has a party hat and Taylor Swift bangers play as we enter. The stand-up comedy show is a fabulous look at gay culture and is decorated with meta gags.
by Laura Ferguson
“You got it? I don’t want to see this on Twitter. I don’t want to see this on Facebook. No Instagram. Nothing. Unfollow me, actually, block me.” Acaster hilariously drills into us, pointing a finger to exaggerate his point. The room erupts with laughter. My neighbour slaps his knee, the woman behind me guffaws until she wheezes and I’m trying not to buckle too much with giggles. And that concludes the first half of Acaster’s show.
Chris Parker is Iconique. The award winning comedian spotlights gay culture and modern technology in his explosive one man Comedy Festival entry Iconique. With the help of his digital assistant, Amazon Echo ‘Alexa,’ Parker performs original songs, shares hilarious family stories and fears the internet is literally fucking us. Iconique is a social commentary, stand-up and musical tied together in a big fat rainbow flag.
by Laura Ferguson
There is something phenomenal about James Nokise. I have seen his work many times in my three years in Wellington and now he has well-deserved success overseas, I try and catch him every time he’s back in town. And yet, he still wows me with fresh takes on society, pithy turns of phrase, and an ability to engage the audience so completely despite raising issues that many deem uncomfortable. God Damn Fancy Man is no exception.
We all like improve shows. And if you think you don’t, you actually do, because at least you’re not the one improvising. It was Mother’s Day when I went to Circa to check out The Improvisors show Theatresports. As someone who played theatresports on the regz back in high school, it brought back familiar memories of physical feats with a belly full of Coke and the Monday Subway sub of the day (back then, it was the meatball sub).
There is only one essential in a successful comedy routine: It must make people laugh. Whether it be just broad smiles, appreciative snickers, chuckles or full-throated guffaws makes no difference. Laughter must happen in some form or other. As such, most of Daniel John Smith's audience in this year's Comedy Fest hit the streets (or the bar) following his 60 minute repertoire of humour under the banner of Big Dumb Cats at least chuckling. Some roaring in delight. Indeed if tonight's show is anything to go by more than a few will fill the Fringe Bar with those bouts of full-throated guffaws during subsequent performances.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.