REVIEW: The Bronaissance (NZ International Comedy Festival)

James Nokise does Kiwis proud.

Klever Kiwi Komedy [by Sharu Delilkan]

James Nokise does Kiwis proud.
James Nokise does Kiwis proud.

Samoan-Welsh comic James Nokise is the first Kiwi comedian I’ve seen at the festival and I’ve no qualms about saying that his show has been the most clever, confident and well put together comedy set I’ve seen so far this year.

From the minute he got on stage Nokise charmed, endeared and entertained the crowd. And what made it even more fabulous was the fact that he packed a plethora of Kiwi references into the 60-minute performance, making it not only entertaining but densely populated with observational facts about life in Aotearoa.

His smartly provocative political and sociological commentary displays his breadth of reading and appreciation for art. From his narrative you learn that he has come a long way from his days as a rejected gang member because he was “too camp” and has blossomed into a highly intelligent, witty and hilarious observer of NZ life and loathes.

Racism is his ‘Key’ theme and before you start yawning don’t – just don’t. The subsequent monologue demonstrates a great deal of common sense and tolerance. Flanked by three panels on stage with AV effects projected, his monologue included Renaissance art as well as multiple NZ political figures. This coupled with pitching the Parihaka Peace Festival against Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, certainly caught my attention as a member of the audience.

It was refreshing to go to a comedy show where there was not only a wide range of topics touched upon but also having them link together, creating a memorably smart story arc. As audience members it was heartening to know that we were going to be leaving not only ‘comedically’ satisfied but tingling all over from Nokise’s sparkling, intense delivery.

Shame the size of the crowd was not commensurate with the talent displayed on stage. Nokise definitely deserves more adulation and accolades for the intelligent and uniquely Kiwiana show that he presented tonight.

I for one laughed myself silly and I guarantee that you will to, if you take the trouble to come see this fabulous show.

Hair of the Dog presents The Bronaissance and plays at the Comedy Chamber, Town Hall until 3 May. Details see NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review by Nik Smythe

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