REVIEW: The 5 Star Comedy Preview (NZ International Comedy Festival)

Review by Lauren Sanderson

So many stars... such bad maths...

[Fest Promises to be a Corker]

The New Zealand International Comedy Festival is back with a bang! The three-week festival started on Wednesday evening at the Sky City Theatre with the hilarious 5 Star Comedy Preview. Nine international comedians were packed into a two and half hour show, providing us with a sneak peek at what is to come from this year’s festival.

If the 5 Star Comedy Preview is anything to go by, this year’s festival is set to be a corker.

Kicking off the show was born and bred cockney geezer Jimmy McGhie who was to be our MC for the night. With his impeccable storytelling, and quick witty banter, it is no wonder he is regarded as one of the UK’s most exciting acts to hit the comedy circuit.

Making his NZ debut, Scott’s man Ian Stirling was next to take to the stage. His brash language and his ability to interact with the audience certainly made an impression. His amusing observations about marriage and his perceptible fear of babies left the crowd in stitches.

Adam Hess followed, the 27 year old Brit awkwardly stutters his way through his ‘true stuff’ list, rolling off joke after joke. His awkwardness certainly worked in his favour as he shared stories about his religious parents and his pooey mishaps.

While the show re-introduced some familiar faces, it also presented some new. Belter Brit’s Hal Cruttenden and Ed Gamble made their NZ debut, after both only arriving to Auckland that very morning. Cruttenden jokes about his sexuality while Gamble talks about his genitalia.

Another Brit and newcomer to the festival and, may I add, the only female comedian of the evening, Lou Sanders left the audience howling with her chaotic mish-mash of ideas.

Finishing off the first half and the crowd favourite of the night was Finnish comedian Ismo Leikola. His simple yet side-splitting performance left everybody in tears. Playing a variety of gigs throughout the festival, he is definitely a must see!

The second act kicked off with regular comedy fest favourite Chris Martin, who brought his wholly original social commentary, observations and anecdotes to the stage.

Markus Birdman returns to NZ and steals the show, the English comic was certainly to blame for the teary smudged mascara mishaps of the evening as the theatre was left in hysterics as he reminisces on the time his daughter walked in on him in the bath and pointed at his penis and asked ‘Daddy, what’s that?’ his cleverly thought out response was just priceless.

The conveyor belt of comics had us entertained all evening- leaving us with a burning desire for more. My cheeks were sore and my stomach aching but it was all certainly worth the pain!

The NZ International Comedy Festival runs until 21st May. See the Comedy Festival website for information on where to see these acts. 

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