REVIEW: Rose Matafeo Finally Dead (NZ International Comedy Festival 2015)

Rose Matafeo

Dead funny [by Matt Baker]

Rose Matafeo
Rose Matafeo

It’s a subject most of us have thought about at some point, albeit not necessarily to the degree to which Rose Matafeo has. Funeral playlists are usually the first things people think of, and it’s no different for Matafeo’s comedy festival show Finally Dead, in which she hosts her own funeral. It’s a great premise and allows for a wide range of material, because, ultimately, everything can be related back to death. The show, however, is anything but bleak. Matafeo has a set and costume designer (Christine Urquhart), lighting designer (Rachel Marlow), and even a musician (Paul Williams) – this bitch is going out in style.

Ranging from deadpan delivery to lively laughs, Matafeo is a true performer. There are song and dance numbers, guest appearances, and even a processional finale. There are also plenty of jokes. From social commentaries to pop culture references, Matafeo seems to be able to make anything funny, which is exactly why she writes and performs for a prime time comedy television show. She’s also part of the new generation of New Zealand comedians, a Billy T award winner, and a closing argument to any inane dialogue about comediennes.

As far as funerals go, this is definitely the most fun I’ve had. Even an unintentionally lost letter of glittered embroidery provides laughter, fitting in perfectly with Matafeo’s makeshift memorial. As a comedienne and a television personality, Matafeo cops undue online criticism; perhaps her funeral is a chance for haters to step up to the plate and engage with her live. Chances are, she’ll end up having the last laugh.

Finally Dead plays as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2015 at The Basement until May 2. For details see Comedy Festival.

SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review by Kathryn van Beek

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