It has to be said first that the amount of time and thought that Dean has put into this song is incredible. He finds a way to link its lyrics to any human emotion, turns it into moody poetry by reading it backwards, and even uncovers the sound of a dial-up modem when the song is sped up to fifteen seconds in length. It is funny, well thought-out, and keeps the audience on their toes.
The main drawback to this show is that Dean does not always seem sure of himself when delivering his jokes. He offers them up tentatively at times, frequently referring back to whether they were hits or misses in Auckland. Dean has a very self-deprecating style, which is always great for material, but it does, at times, feel more like insecurity than sheepish humour. There are definitely moments in this show where we find ourselves feeling sorry for Dean, rather than actually laughing, because the comedy gets a little smothered by the sad story carrying it. I would love to see this show performed with a bit more self-confidence.
That said, ‘Elevation’ is a very well put together show. I have a soft spot for shows that come full circle, even if it is in the smallest of ways, so when Dean mulls the meaning of life at the beginning only to conclude that the song ‘Elevation’ sits at the centre of the universe, it is very satisfying to me. He even goes to the effort of backing this up by proving that all roads lead to ‘Elevation’. However, while show’s structure has a strong foundation, it does take a little while for him to actually reach the topic of the U2 song, and this had me doubling back on whether I had read the blurb right.
All in all, ‘Elevation’ is feel-good piece of light comedy and it is worth seeing. It is showing at Te Auaha in Tapere Iti (Little Theatre) until Saturday 25 May at 10pm. To book tickets for the festival’s final week, visit the NZ International Comedy Fest website.