REVIEW: Yorick! (Binge Culture)

June 19, 2018
[Dance of Death] Neither an overly-intellectual deconstruction of Hamlet (a la Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine) or an alternative take on the play (a la Thomas Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), Binge Culture’s Yorick! merely uses Shakespeare’s canonical text as a launching pad for their whimsical and absurd exploration of mortality. And mortality, being the wide-reaching topic it is, is a […]

REVIEW: Pool (No Water) (The Basement)

May 24, 2018
[Unreliable Narrators] A successful artist invites her less accomplished and bitter “friends” for a reunion, resulting in a terrible accident involving the titular pool. Her newly comatose body then becomes the subject and object of the group’s newfound success. The result is a searing examination of exploitation and jealousy in the art world. British playwright Mark Ravenhill, most famous for […]

REVIEW: Matt Okine: The Hat Game (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 23, 2018
[A Fine Balance] With his laid-back presence and intelligent humour, Matt Okine’s latest show is a highly watchable evening of stand-up. With just the right brand of Australian colloquialism, Okine’s manner translates well to our Kiwi stages without unnecessary pandering. In between the jokes Okine masterfully weaves something like a rags to riches story into the tapestry of his material. […]

REVIEW: Brynley Stent & Rhiannon McCall: “Why Does This Feel So Good?” (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 17, 2018
[Bad Education] Playing exaggerated versions of themselves, Brynley Stent and Rhiannon McCall use high school sexual education as the subject of their comedy show. Treating us as a high school students, the evening is structured simply but effectively (Puberty, Sex, Birth, Sexuality and Gender Equality), though often derailing itself with comedic asides and character drama to great effect. While the […]

REVIEW: Alice Snedden: Self Titled: Volume II (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 17, 2018
[A Room of her Own] Billy T nominee Alice Snedden serves up a platter of anecdotes and observations that will have you in stitches. Loosely tied by the “problem” of her unflinching confidence, we are taken on a wild ride down memory lane, covering past and recent events that have made Snedden who she is today. Despite being unfamiliar with […]

REVIEW: Chris Parker: Camp Binch (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 12, 2018
[Nostalgia Extravaganza] Chris Parker has mastered the art of self-deprecation and personal storytelling, taking the audience on an emotional detour through his childhood. Camp Binch is a brilliant underdog story of growing up in Christchurch, not just as a gay kid, but also simply as an outsider. Equipped with a ridiculous wig and a black sequin backdrop, Parker skillfully avoids […]

REVIEW: Eli Matthewson: An Inconvenient Poof (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 12, 2018
[Low-Fat Agitprop] Eli Matthewson’s latest show manoeuvres through the tricky and confusing world of ethical living, as he strives to be the best activist he can be. It’s a pressing question in our current time, particularly for our generation. Playing to the audience with just the right amount of charm and confidence, Matthewson effortlessly delivers his material, consistently hitting those […]

REVIEW: Leon Wadham: Giddy (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 10, 2018
[Sisyphus Smiles] An ecstatic delight, Leon Wadham’s Giddy is like a hot knife in butter, cutting through all the standup in the festival and making itself known. That’s not to discredit or undervalue the talent required for conventional forms of comedy writing, but there’s something special about a show so unashamedly kooky as Giddy is. Structured as a series of […]

REVIEW: Phil Wang (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 10, 2018
[Patriotasian] Phil Wang doesn’t describe himself as a minority, despite his Asian appearance. Instead, he suggests he’s two majorities (Chinese-Malaysian and British), due to his bi-racial heritage. It’s a funny subversion, but also a telling one. Ideologically, Wang plays almost a devil’s advocate to first-world progressivism, poking fun at liberal tendencies without ever resorting to ad hominem attacks or betraying […]

REVIEW: Aunty (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 3, 2018
[Cat on a Hot Tinnie Roof] Invited as extended family of Johanna Cosgrove’s titular Aunty, the audience act as guests and onlookers to the party at hand. It’s a recognisably bare celebration, featuring bags of chips, a box cask of wine, bikkies and whipped cream. Though essentially plotless, she weaves bawdy anecdotes and personal observations with a confidence and energy […]
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