REVIEWS: Late Night Weekend Comedy: Snort and Kiwi Heroes (NZ International Comedy Festival 2014)

Only in NZ

Snort with Friends [by Matt Baker]

(with friends)
(with friends)

For the past several months there has been comedy cult gathering members in the midst of Auckland. What began has a Friday night 4-week season has turned into a weekly ritual at The Basement, with Snort attracting regularly sold-out crowds. Minimising the chaos, but finding freedom in structure, the show is based on a single sketch from New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade, which boasts members such as Amy Poehler and Matt Besser.

A Snort performer is selected and then given a word from the audience, from which they create a short monologue. The cast then create scenes based on said monologue. That’s essentially all you need to know. It’s simple, it’s easy for audiences to follow, and it unfailingly generates hilarious results. Having attended many Snort performances before, I can attest to not only the ability and extremity to which these performers can improvise, but also the genuine enjoyment that exude when doing so.

The Snort core cast consists of Donna Brookbanks, Laura Daniel, Eddy Dever, Rose Matafeo, Eli Mathewson, Guy Montgomery, Joseph Moore, Nic Sampson, Alice Snedden, Chris Parker, and Hamish Parkinson. It’s a guess to which combination you’ll get on any given night, and now and then the audience is even treated to a guest performer or monologist.

A regular attendee of The Basement, there is no denying the fact that Snort has tapped into an entirely new audience potential. The balance of Snort regulars versus Snort virgins is almost perfectly half and half each and every week, thanks to both word of mouth and walk-ins. It’s obvious that Snort has had, and will continue to have, a long life beyond the comedy festival, but that’s no reason not to get into the habit now. A perfect way to end TGIF and kick-off your weekend.

11:30pm Friday 2, 9, 16 May at The Basement 

Kiwi Heroes: Live! [by Matt Baker]

Only in NZ
Only in NZ

Ernest Rutherford, Rachel Hunter, and James Reid all walk into a bar. What sounds like the premise to a Kiwi-centric absurdist joke, is actually the premise to a Kiwi-centric absurdist comedy show. Structured in a talk-show format, host Guy Montgomery kicks off the show with genuine talk-show showmanship, with inane analogies and nonsensical side-comments flowing flawlessly from his mile a minute introductory rant.

There’s no particular purpose to the show, three planned guests are here to discuss whatever the audience throws at them, with the fourth and final guest being entirely improvised in that the actor has no idea who the audience will chose them to be. In our case, Eli Mathewson jumped into the boots of Ritchie McCaw, albeit a blonde-wigged no-sleeved one.

Those familiar with Sampson’s Ernest Rutherford will recognise the ease with which he pontificates freely on any subject thrown at him, and his repartee with Montgomery is a great way to start the interview process. As Rachel Hunter, Rose Matafeo pitches the right amount of under enthused superciliousness, her moments of clarity (or lack thereof) adding another layer to the already hyper dynamic on stage, and Joseph Moore’s limited ability to play songs by The Feelers seems to ironically be the best reason for his portrayal of James Reid.

Despite the ridiculousness of the circumstances, the performers somehow manage to tie the individual reasons for the guests’ appearances together, preventing the show from becoming a serious of continual and slowly diminishing anecdotes. Featuring members of the Snort core cast, this a great compliment to your late-night comedy festival viewing.

 11:30pm Sat 3, 10, 17 May at The Classic Studio

More details see Comedy Festival

SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review Kiwi Heroes: Live! and The Pantograph Punch review of Snort with Friends

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