REVIEW: Ivan Aristeguieta: Juithy (NZ International Comedy Festival)

Review by Matt Baker

[Lost in Pronunciation]

Performing stand-up comedy is not easy, let along performing it in a second language, but after six years of living in Australia, Venezuelan-born Ivan Aristeguieta has developed a mastery of not only comedic content, but also linguistic delivery – and he’s not above showing it off. As he shouldn’t be. It’s a skill that should not be underestimated, as it allows Aristeguieta to make comparisons of expectations – from the observational, such as sex and comedy, to the socio-political, such as first versus third world privileges – with metaphors as simple as food.

That may seem like an extreme spectrum on which to base a comedy show, but Aristeguieta has a narrative and thematic structure, and melodic charm that carries the show effortlessly. The key to this is, ironically, the care Aristeguieta takes. He engages directly with his audience, he checks in with them, and caters his content accordingly.

Added to this is the honesty he brings, the personal perspective with a universal applicability, that makes a show about progression, reinvention, and adaptation, as resonant to the non-immigrant, non-divorcees in the audience as it is the comedian himself. But there is no ego driving the intention of the work, or to get in the way of it, and as such, Aristeguieta has a natural affability on stage.

From stereotypes to vegetarianism, he explores the comedic frustrations, but also understandings, of how life is full of change. And while there have been inevitable struggles in Aristeguieta’s life, there is never a sense of regret or anger regarding them. His story is one of optimism and enjoyment, and one can’t help but share in the humour such a story, and performer, exudes.

Ivan Aristeguieta plays Q Vault until 12 May. 

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