TV script writer Kate McDermott’s 90’s slapstick play Nigel is brought to life at the Pumphouse Theatre by ex Shortland Street star Blair Strang in his directorial debut. Transported back to the booming 90s we follow Nigel, a young man whose attempts for a romantic evening at home don’t go to the plan.
Ben Van Lier portrays dorky front-man Nigel with confidence, nervously preparing for the ideal first date, his need for a sleek evening is repeatedly interrupted by a series of unwanted yet hilarious commotions.
In walks the camp neighbour, the Bogan flat mate and her pain in the ass boyfriend, the obsessive ex, his over-dramatic parents, a pregnant lady, a delivery guy, a cop – and who could forget the singing telegram!
Esmee Myers is a certainly a crowd favourite, with her insane performance of Nigel’s neurotically clingy ex-girlfriend Helena. Just when you’re trying to catch your breath, she re-appears wittier than before, leaving you gasping for air yet again.
Marwin Silerio brings in the laughs with his diverse roles, from the macho cop to the overly camp next door neighbour, as well as Jandal the straight-faced food delivery guy.
The set was simple but effective: the retro dining table, blocked TV, eye-popping attire and hilarious brick cell-phone perfectly captured that particular decade. Along with the costumes, it was like we were watching a 90’s sitcom.
Although the fast paced piece did leave your sides aching, it was slightly repetitive, which unfortunately took away from the humour at times. The action is frantic and builds way too quickly, to the point it is a struggle to keep up.
Ending with Britney Spears’ classic 90’s pop song Crazy was quite fitting as it is exactly what we were left thinking at the end of the show.
Nigel plays until 27 May. Details see The Pumphouse.
SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review by Nik Smythe