The show starts with a loose explanation of the concept of the show, or two explanations as they see it very differently. Hokinson describes his view of Calm Down Get Mad as a way of making sense of the world's chaos and how we get mad about the wrong things sometimes but are apathetic regarding other important issues. Hutcheson states simply that it’s how he lives his life going through being too mad and too calm about all the wrong things.
Before these two lads take to the stage, they’ve hand picked a local favourite performer start us off and they change every night. Tonight’s lucky performer is Aidan Grealish and he’s very familiar with getting mad. In a passionate rant he’s tearing apart tall people, paddleboarding and anyone named Shane. Grealish hits his stride partway through and the bitter anger bites the audience and mixes with the comedy to form a dark and twisted style that has us laughing at his plight.
Hutcheson hits the stage next and he has a meandering storytelling style that sees us discussing everything from his business idea for couples counselling, his relationship with his dad and just how impractical he really is. Hutcheson has an eye for the detail and paints a vivid picture to set the scene, unusual in comedy. We find ourselves very invested in the story's conclusion which is always unexpected. He’s right, it gets weird as his imagination carries us to strange places such as picturing alcohol as friends and the moment he discovered that he wasn’t gay, but it’s a wonderful weird that lingers with you and makes you chuckle again hours later.
Lastly to the stage is Hodkinson, who introduces himself with an audio clip of the world in chaos. The clip features snippets of familiar and triggering statements concerning the types of things people get mad about in the world, including politics, pollution etc. It's an inspired piece of work with something for everyone, designed to make us mad and join the club. With the clip foreshadowing his set like this and the fact he's previously set up that he's raging about the wider world, I'm momentarily confused to get no social commentary humour. He does touch on the homeless but mostly to compare them drunk white guys, a bit which has pretty accurate impressions.
A quick expectation adjustment and I find myself in Hodkinson’s world instead. It's a world in which he's developed characters to meet girls with varying results, a world with little patience with idiots and a world where stealing is ok as long as you do it with confidence. It’s a dark comedy style at times and he’s very aware of this, inviting us to laugh about it. Hodkinson’s usual confidence on stage was diluted, presumably with the nerves of opening night. However, his rehearsed patter was, as usual well performed though as he switches from one character to another.
The shows theme was clear however, the comedy was stretched to fit it and at times barely seemed to relate the the theme at all. It's clearly a stretch that needs work, however I still enjoyed the comics. Both comics are flamboyant and charismatic in their presence on stage and have a developing style which is entertaining and worth attending to see.
Calm Down Get Mad by Aiken Hutcheson and Pete Hodkinson is on from Weds 27th to Sat 30th, 10pm at Cavern Club.
Tickets are available here: https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2016/apr/aiken-hutcheson-and-pete-hodkinson