Eli Matthewson has a reputation for slick, tight good quality stand-up. He’s known to work his gear relentlessly when putting together a festival show and Gutterball shows the value in that hard work. It’s a slick, tight very funny show well deserving of its mid-week sellout crowd at San Fran.
“No. 3 Stars”. That’s the review Tim Batt jokes about getting on the opening night of Is Climate Change Funny Yet?. Unfortunately, due to some highly distracting audience chaos and a show which hasn’t quite got its balance right, it’s not far from my experience on opening night.
For NZICF 2023, two-time winner of NZICF Newcomer of the Year (yes, you read that right) Maria Williams brings us a new iteration of her show Anxiety…the Musical!? where anxiety is amended to ADHD following a decades-late diagnosis. For those not in the know, neurodivergence is often misdiagnosed (and mis-self-diagnosed) as anxiety due to stressors like overstimulation and masking pressure, so this is not a surprising pipeline.
It’s a sold out Wednesday night in Te Auaha’s Tapere Nui for one of Aotearoa’s most well-known comedians. Famous for his snapchat filter videos featuring quirky characters and tongue-in-cheek political impressions, there is a noticeable excitement in the crowd to see the dude off instagram, live in the flesh.
Lloyd Langford was a once regular international visitor to the NZ Comedy Festival and returns this year after a 4 year hiatus. The Welsh comedian of QI and 8 out of 10 Cats fame grace’s a humble Sunday evening slot at San Fran for an hour of solid gold stand up.
Moonroe’s Happy Hour is a variety show featuring song, circus and a touch of burlesque created and performed by Laura Oakley and Jackson Cordery. Variety is the name of the game with this show, with some acts proving to be genuinely astonishing while some were found lacking.
Who do we actually make theatre for? Whenever I put on a show I wilfully delude myself about my audience. I imagine hordes of strangers coming in blind and walking out as deeply emotionally affected converts. In reality, 90% of my audience will be one degree of separation away from me or my cast. That’s local theatre, baby. Ultimately we make it for our loved ones, which while ego-bursting, is somewhat beautiful. It’s all one big school play.
The Big HOO-HAA! Pōneke is a competitive improv show (a-la Theatresports) which was originally created in Perth, Australia and has migrated onto our shores for its New Zealand premiere in this year’s New Zealand Fringe Festival. Despite some opening night wrinkles, it’s a rambunctious, rollicking good time starring some of the city’s finest improv talent.
If The Best Foods Comedy Gala 2022 is any indication of the year ahead in comedy, we have a lot to look forward to. Having been rescheduled due to Covid, the Comedy Gala kicks off to a sold-out crowd on Friday night who’ve been waiting for this since May. The line up is packed with acts I’ve never seen before, and several who I’m dying to see, and I overhear chatter as we file in about who people are there for. The Michael Fowler Centre is packed as we enter, everyone is fizzing and everywhere you look there’s mayonnaise, what’s not to love?
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
Little Dog Barking Theatre Company’s show Party Pigs! is originally adapted for the stage by the late Peter Wilson from the nursery rhyme "This Little Piggy Went To Market." This iteration of the show is given new life by Wilson’s long-time friend Kenny King as performer, Jacqueline Coats as director, original design by Tish Oldham, and puppets by Sharon Johnson. Party Pigs! is a delightful puppetry story set around the excitement and anticipation of a child’s birthday party - piggy style!
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
SquareSums&Co’s show Bunny, written, directed and performed by Barnie Duncan and produced by Yee Yang ‘Square’ Lee is a love letter to clubbing and an exploration of dealing with grief. Made in the weeks following the death of his mother, Robyn, Duncan brings this iteration of Bunny to BATS with a year of development under its belt, having been made for the 2021 Comedy Fest.
GAG REFLEX is a (more or less) one woman show, created by Rachel Atlas, and directed by Sabrina Martin. GAG REFLEX takes us through Atlas’s experiences as a performer, a sex worker, and a survivor, in a world that often feels like it is not built for women like her. This is Atlas’ first venture onto the stage as an actor, and I must say, what a strong entrance!
Shift Your Paradigm is part pyramid-scheme parody, part conspiracy investigation, full quirky comedy good times. Co-created by David Bowers-Mason and Mitchell Botting, this 65-minute offering - while not perfect - is a delightful addition to this year’s Fringe programme. WARNING: SEVERAL CHAIRS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS PRODUCTION.
Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
Wake Productions’ stand-up show The Scottish Kiwi is helmed by ‘born and fled’ Scottish New Zealander Ryan McGhee with Michael Macauley as the warm-up act. From the winner of Best Newcomer Lower North Island at the NZ Comedy Guild Awards, this show is an up-beat romp across continents as McGhee gives comedic life to his misadventures in Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Always funny, sometimes smutty, definitely gay.
Spitz and Crumple is an improvised, smooth-lounge concert created and performed by Ben Jardine and Liz Butler. It’s the best improvised music I’ve ever seen, and the theatrical equivalent of a warm hug from your Aunty Jan. Strap in for a rave review!
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.