REVIEW: Phil Jupitus: Juplicity (NZ International Comedy Festival)

By Tim Booth and Sharu Delilkan

Phill Jupitus

[Gas Giant]

We reckon many of the 500 strong audience in Sky City tonight got more than they bargained for in Phill Jupitus’s show Juplicity.  Having only previously seen him on QI on the telly we were anticipating some quick witted observational comedy riddled with some quirky stories.

But we got more than that…so much more.  An unconventional short first ‘half’ gave us a glimpse of Phill’s origins as a ranting poet – some hilarious stuff, albeit Anglo-centric, but covering such varied subjects like politics, quantum mechanics and squirrels, to name a few.

It was almost as if he provided the warm up act for his own show – reminiscent of his early career as a warm up poetry act for touring bands in the UK. Interwoven with silly stories for context, the crowd quickly embraced a medium we don’t often get to see from a big player in the international comedy industry. His ability to make poetry ridiculous, but thought-provoking was nothing short of genius.

The second half kicked off with a silly song and then cruised along a memory lane of obscure, frank and ludicrous observations of Phill’s life.  Family members – and ‘members’ themselves were the source of much hilarity – which in anyone else’s show might be verging on juvenile or even crass but not Phill’s. His charm and completely unabashed attitude to talking about anything and everything allows him to explore our more nether regions with childlike innocence.

His colourful descriptions of life’s most mundane and/or most talked about activities made it an absolute treat to witness this consummate professional in action – it was a privilege to watch such a fine performance from a highly accomplished performer.  We are fortunate that Phill has finally made his debut in New Zealand, which has definitely been a long time coming, but all too short, with only one show in the festival.  We can only hope that he not only returns soon but also frequently.

Phill Jupitus performed at Sky City Theatre on 1 May. Details see Comedy Festival. 

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