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.
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.
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
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.
Sarah Harpur (writer and performer) and Carrie Green’s (director) The Shit Kid describes itself as ‘a one-person play about a mediocre person’. It boasts all the things you’d want to boast about: sexy horses, Mark Todd fever dreams, your brother being a four-time Olympic gold medallist instead of you. This show is light and funny, and it will hit home for anyone who has ever felt exactly adequate.
Whenever I see stand-up comedy, I wonder if it will keep me engaged for a full hour. It’s not easy when it’s just you and a mic, but the winner of Best Solo Show for Nelson Fringe 2020, The Cool Mum by comic Jo Ghastly, removes the downfalls of stand-up by pulling narrative into the equation. Instead of having to listen to someone crack one-liners for an hour or tell a long-winded story, the audience gets to sit down to something with a structure that has actually been thought out.
Cupid’s Guide to Modern Romance is an improvised romantic comedy with the aim of helping us figure out this whole love thing. It’s part cute and wholesome queer romance, part self-help and 100% a feel good time.
After having to cancel their debut season due to COVID-19, Colossal is back with Laser Kiwi #2, the second iteration of their sellout show, Laser Kiwi, and it is well worth the wait. It follows the same unique form that can only be labelled as ‘circus sketch comedy’, with all new, never-before-seen content and the same manic energy.
Like most creatives, I have a list of people I want to make a show with. Some are obvious: friends of mine from the spoken word scene, previous collaborators, talented peers. Some are farther reaching: the writer of that play I reviewed which I couldn’t find fault with, or directors I have followed for decades. But nowhere on this long and inclusive dream list have I included anyone I was ever in an actual relationship with. The closest I got was making a solo show about a particularly memorable break up. We hadn’t spoken for a year when I performed it to a room full of strangers, but even that was too close for comfort.
Comedy connoisseurs Eli Matthewson (The Male Gayz) and Brynley Stent (Funny Girls) are far braver than I.
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’.
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.
Best of the Fest, a Festival award winning show, opens this year to a sell-out audience. The queue to San Fran blocks the door to Floridita’s, and the energy is high. In the late show to end all late shows, NZICF brings us the works of Li’i Alaimoana, Jadwiga Green, Guy Montgomery, Melanie Bracewell, Tony Lyall, and Phil Nichol.
This week, nestled on the top floor of BATS Theatre, Ray Shipley brings us what is possibly the best little comedy show in Wellington. Within two minutes of the show beginning, Shipley has an audience member literally snorting with laughter and acknowledges it by saying, “All laughs are welcome here”. This is very much the tone of the show. Shipley is mind-bogglingly comfortable in their own anxiety and somehow cripplingly and charmingly self-aware all at the same time.
by Laura Ferguson
I bought tickets to Frickin’ Dangerous Bro as soon as I saw they were for sale. I had an excited thrill in my chest to show my partner this year’s iteration of one of my absolute favourite shows of 2018. I had talked Frickin’ Dangerous Bro up a lot in the twelve months since last years Fred Award nomination for Best Show and compared every skit show since with 2018’s Humble. Now, I admit, this is a bit of a frickin’ dangerous strategy that often sets the unknowing performers to fall off a pedestal they didn’t know were they on. As I chewed my thumbnail in my seat, anticipating the start of the show with my partner jiggling excitedly beside me, I wondered if I had done them a disservice. I was so wrong. The lights go down and BAM the hilarity begins immediately. 2019’s Legacy is exactly that, carrying on the excellence the trio have already achieved and carrying it to even greater heights.
Local Honest Reviews
At Art Murmurs, our aim is to provide honest and constructive art reviews to the Wellington community.