Now going backstage, after first making sure we are alright with the performance beginning, she yells from the curtains that she is ready. The ever classy “Spice Up Your Life” starts blaring in conjunction with Coriander’s official grand entrance, complete with yoga poses set in hip-jiggling unison to the music, very appropriate for her special brand of spicy yoga. This made me laugh heartily at the sheer ridiculous nature of it and I settled in, hoping for more of the same.
Coriander’s stage presence now comes alive and is reminiscent of a children’s television presenter, she is energetic and her voice is lilting, every utterance containing at least one exclamation point, sometimes more are implied. This was an engaging way to get audience participation happening without resorting to coercion or wheedling, the absence of both I was grateful for. Her humour is easy, affable and light, the audience’s laughter came often and everyone was open about their enjoyment of the show.
However, there is not much to be discovered below the surface. This is perhaps a particular fault of this reviewer, searching for hidden meanings and social commentaries, but that is not the kind of show this is. There were also a few gags that fell flat with me and left the audience more wondering than humoured. An instance of Coriander going off the stage early in the show as a joke felt odd, leaving people around me perplexed as to whether it was actually a part of the show and it was never clear if this was the case.
Some jokes felt very obvious and there was a piece of the show that contained a yoga-off with an audience member, which didn’t go well as it resulted in Coriander getting stroppy. This didn’t come off as funny, just immature and tedious. I felt that this section could have pushed itself more into the potential the show has, instead of falling back on standard sitcom cliches, in turn leading to cheaper laughs. I would have liked to see a cleverer lead-up to Coriander’s self-reflection and I believe that Jess Brien has the innate talent to achieve this.
The audience did love the show, clapping and whooping came easily with no encouragement necessary. Coriander had all of us up on our feet embodying a variety of animals and while there was the scent of self-consciousness in this, everyone also had the spark of doing something a little daft making clearly smiles and giggles prevalent, myself included.
While this show might not break any boundaries, or even test them, it is fun and breezy. You will laugh and it allows you to embrace your silly side which is not worked into as many shows as it should be. It is also children-friendly. Coriander can be a little lewd, but it is never overt and while there is an instance of strong language used, children will enjoy her effervescent personality as well as the chance to join in. The length of the show supports this too, running around fifty minutes long. The audience really got into the Coriander spirit, opened their third eye and cleared their chakras to make way for some winsome and pleasurable amusement. Go along for a yoga(ish) time and enjoy the frivolity.
Coriander’s Yoga(ish) Show is playing at BATS Theatre form the 24th - 27th August. Tickets are available at https://bats.co.nz/whats-on/corianders-yogaish-show/