Before the audience takes their seats, Dwyer and York hand out pens and pieces of paper, requesting that viewers write down the pettiest thing they’ve ever done. While everyone is scrambling to think of petty things, the duo hands out name tags, which sets up the expectation of heavy audience interaction and intermingling. They don’t meet this expectation though, which makes the name tags redundant. When it comes time to read out the audience’s “petty affirmations”, they simply read them out. This is a little disappointing, and I would have liked to see it worked into the performance in a stronger way. It would have really added to the show if they’d fuelled their content by improvising around the audience’s material, band it would help the show feel a little fuller—which brings me to my next point.
Dwyer and York’s energy is what makes PETTY B*TCHES. They are vibrant and vocal, and turn out a number of hilarious improvised one liners. The issue is that PETTY B*TCHES feels like a relatively empty show, and if it wasn’t for the pair’s incredible stage presence, there probably wouldn’t be much left behind. About 40 minutes into the show, you can already feel it wrapping up, and it is a bit of a let down. No one wants their audience checking their watches in confusion. Dwyer and York do, of course, pull through and fill the hour, but it is with a five minute kazoo duet and a five minute medley of 90s songs. Both are wildly entertaining, but they don’t feel that relevant, and the justification for them making it into the show is weak. That aside, PETTY B*TCHES is a fun and wacky show that is worth going to see as a late night pick-me-up.
PETTY B*TCHES is on at Te Auaha in Tapere Iti (Little Theatre), until Saturday 11 May. To book tickets, or for more information on other shows in NZ International Comedy Fest, visit the NZICF website.