REVIEW: Hal Cruttenden: Straight Outta Cruttenden (NZ International Festival)

Review by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth

Hal Cruttenden


For someone billed as “A right royal king of the UK Pro circuit” we’ve got to be honest: we expected more.

Yes the show was perfectly acceptable and Hal Cruttenden kept the crowd laughing through his articulate language skills, but it wasn’t anything special and definitely not memorable.

I suppose for someone who is a seasoned comedian, who has been on “Live at the Apollo” 3 times, you would have expected a more well thought out set.  Not just shooting the breeze with a running commentary about his family in relation to sex, drugs and rock and roll.

I guess this raises a broader question here – clearly comedians have the absolute right to perform whatever material they choose, but what do we expect these days from overseas comedians at the festival??

Personally, we have started feeling slightly short-changed when comedians’ material are overwhelmingly Anglo-centric. Whilst we in NZ can often relate, it does seem a bit presumptuous sometimes.

Should we expect comedians to at least try and tailor their shows to NZ?  Or are we bringing them over here to perform the material they are best known for?  Are we getting glimpses of another country’s foibles and peculiarities or are we getting ripped off with old irrelevant material?

The likes of 7 Days, Snort, and a number of local comedians that we have been following for a number of years now, can easily give many of these overseas comedy ‘stars’ a run for their money.

I guess it’s just unlucky for Hal Cruttenden that it was during his particular show that these issues started to grate a little.  There was nothing wrong with his show; the audience seemed to have a good time.  We just left wanting a bit more.

Hal Cruttenden performs at The Classic until 20 May. Details see Comedy Festival

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