REVIEW: Spyfinger! (NZ International Comedy Festival 2015)


Beware of this heart of (comedy) gold [by Matt Baker]


Following the success of A Play About Space and A Show About Superheroes, Wellington-based award-winning theatre collective My Accomplice brings their latest show (about spies), Spyfinger!, to Auckland, following their Wellington season for the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. With incredibly (and necessary) detailed direction by collaborator Uther Dean; Alex Greig, Hannah Banks, and Paul Waggott mime their way through a convoluted yet intricate plot parody of the best and worst of the spy film genre.

As with any great parody, there are homages abound in Spyfinger!, from including every James Bond film title through some form of wordplay, to the salaciously saddled femme fatale. The plot is on par with the antics of an Austin Powers film, however, it is impossible not to note both the similarities and differences with Wellington’s Spyfinger! and Auckland’s Force Norman. Both follow tales of espionage and parody the spy film genre, and even have the exact same equine related pun, but where Force Norman is prop heavy and chaotic, Spyfinger! relies almost exclusively on mime with a polished finish.

I absolutely cannot fault the technicality of the show, as it was perfectly executed, but, while there’s security in feeling safe that a group of actors will give you a professional show that’s well worth the price of a ticket, there’s always the necessity for a sense of danger in theatre. The humour is so intelligently articulate, the physicality so painstakingly detailed, and the show so self-aware, that it risks slipping on its polished finish right off the stage before it reaches the audience. The cast of Spyfinger! work very hard (in the right way) and require a vocally engaged audience, or at least a laugher to get the rest going. If you’re one of those people, this is a show that’s perfect for you.

Spyfinger! plays at The Basement until May 16. For details see Comedy Festival.


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