The show starts strong with the authoritative voice of Campbell Wright. A single chair, a box of mystery items and a treasure hunt are the interactive tools precariously placed in front of the audience at Courtenay Creative. Guided by Wright’s voice of God, an audience member volunteers to perform a series of ridiculous tasks in order to win a bag of Fruit Bursts. (I wish he would narrate the rest of my evening, I might have published my review sooner). This introduction is fresh and fun and will never be the same!
Putting your show in the hands of an audience member is a risky business but the comedy troupe’s audience interaction is playful and carefully controlled. I want to be chosen to play with the charming cast. The atmosphere is friendly and upbeat. Special shout out to Millie Osborne who warmly welcomes us and emcees with enviable confidence. Osborne is so casual with her audience interaction I forget she’s actually fishing for the next scene’s material.
Magnus Steele, Private Investigator played by Austin Harrison is a whimsical stand out character act. Magnus Steele is a neo-noir crime fighter from the 1950s. He wears a long overcoat, has an obnoxious New York accent and probably has whiskey and cigars for breakfast. His task is to solve the crime the century: who stole the soy latte? Harrison meets the challenge of overly enthusiastic volunteers with ease, jovially repeating: “Hey! This is my show!” His performance is tongue in cheek and even more endearing when he breaks character.
I adore living vicariously through my friend’s dating apps that weren’t popular before I became one half of a smug couple #humblebrag, so I was absolutely delighted by the live Tinder concept. Facilitated by funny girl Nina Hogg, one lucky audience member swipes left and right on the silly and sometimes unfortunately recognisable characters. While he didn’t find his true love, the actors truly won the audience over.
The ensemble shifts gear and loses the momentum of the first half when delivering the finale song. However, it’s still better than Studylink’s hold music. The ambient music improvised by the masterful museo Ben Kelly throughout also deserves a special mention. The music consistently keeps up with the weird and wonderful ensemble and successfully heightens the casts’ ridiculousness and accents their punchlines.
From its title, I expected more skits to involve the horrors of Studylink and student life in their narrative. The cast has the potential to make their show even more different from Playshop Live or other theatre sport shows by emphasising the student theme.
Expect big offers, bigger laughs and to be a part of the show! Celebrate emerging talent and forget about your student debt for a night. Whose Loan is it Anyway? Tickets are only $10!
Studylink Presents: Comedy Related Costs is showing at Courtenay Creative, 49 Courtenay Place until Saturday 9th March, at 9:30pm. To purchase tickets click here, or for information on other shows in Wellington Fringe Festival, visit the NZ Fringe website.