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May 17, 2010 | by  | in Theatre |
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Theatre! With Uther Dean!

Stand Up For Kids

Steve Wrigley (at one point dressed as a tinsel-based bee) MC’d this show of kiddy-madness. While his usually really infectious energy washed a little over the young’uns, he kept them basically in check. Except for the end where they swarmed the stage and the show fell apart entirely. Which was kinda funny but also oddly terrifying. James Nokise dressed funny and was funny. Simon McKinney did voices, mixed reaction. Jamie Bowen started as Bruce Wayne, was good.

Sat 1 & Sun 2 May, Sat 8 & Sun 9 May / 2pm / at Capital E

Chris Brain—The Oneforty

The second night of Chris Brain’s show was rather marred by a persistant heckler who ruined the first quarter of the show before having to be forcefully removed. The upside of this was a real sense of togetherness developed between Brain and his (small) audience. A fun and chatty if rushed time was had by all. The show itself is a little focused than it needs to be, introducing Twitter as the central idea/provocation, then frequently ignoring it for extended periods.

Tues 4 – Sat 8 May / 7pm / The Garden Club

Jeff Green—Crazy from the Heat

You could very easily see Jeff Green being the headline act on a rather hip cruiseliner. He is of the 90s Brit laddism school. Which means that his comedy, as funny as it is, essentially breaks down to being a bully. His jokes are simply attacks, brutal ones usually, on all he encounters. Which runs kinda raw. Also, him using the final ten minutes of the show as an advert for his books leaves a bad taste.

Mon 10 – Sat 15 May / 7pm / San Francisco Bathhouse

Tom Wrigglesworth—An Open Letter to Richard Branson

Stepping in at the last minute to replace an ill Jason Cook, Tom Wrigglesworth hits it out of the park. His simple, and largely true story of his battle against injustice on a Virgin train is masterfully told. His clean eye for metaphor and simile drives him past just ha-ha land into genius giggle country. His wit, wack and crystal sharp sense of timing make An Open Letter to Richard Branson one of the highlights of the festival.

Mon 10 – Sat 15 May / 8:30pm / San Francisco Bathhouse

Joel Salom’s Gadgets

A show of amazing skill and spectacle. Salom is a severely talented circus performer juggling up a storm. The proceedings were shrouded in an air of dark dream-like fun, like a positive nightmare. The robot dog and juggling-controlled music and laser dénouement are profoundly wonderful theatrical moments. It is, however, not all that funny. A great show, not a great comedy.

Tue 11 May 7:00pm, Wed 12 May 7:00pm, Thu 13 May 7:00pm & 9:00pm, Fri 14 May 7:00pm & 9:00pm, Sat 15 May 4:00pm & 7:00pm / at Downstage

Mrs Peacock—Nature’s Beast

An amusing (if not really funny) journey through the various regions of Aotearoa and their musical styles is, if anything, really a good excuse to bust out this duo’s amazing music skills. Their comedy songs manage to tick the boxes of being both funny and legitimately good songs on their own terms. The show’s slightly over-reliance on highly hit-and-miss AV material begins to grate, especially when it (due to bad sound) is hard to decipher what is going on.

Wed 12 – Sat 15 May / 10pm / at The Fringe Bar

Rhys Mathewson—Rhyspect!

Mathewson is a massive comedy nerd. His joy is infectious. But his influences are too obvious. He lacks a voice, he is just a mash of other people. Steve Wrigley is the big one, but there is a lot of Daniel Kitson in his performance too—right down to a lifted line or two. In five years when he has his own voice, he’ll be amazing. But now he’s all passion and no voice.

Wed 5 – Sat 8 May / 10pm / The Fringe Bar, Wellington

The Giant Face

Medlock and Musgrove’s previous work (Blickers & Spurs and A Song for Ugly Kids) has been exceptional. Creative, hilarious, inventive. They had an original voice and their performances skidded right across a shiny ice rink of awesome. Expectations were high for The Giant Face—they weren’t fulfilled. The plot feels underdeveloped, thrown together, and the other performers noticably struggle. Moments of genius—the woman with no tongue, Medlock’s child-like Peter Jackson—fail to save it. Also, they really could do without the comedy songs.

Tue 11 – Sat 15 May / 9:30pm / at BATS

Little Moustache—Laugh Experiences

A melange of stand up and sketches, Laugh Experiences was a mixed bag. As rule their stand up was good. Well, Danni Taylor’s and Nat Britten’s was. Chelsea Hughes is clearly a talented performer—her material, however, is just bland recycling of old clichés. Their sketches occasionally hit but always went on too long and often ended up labouring no-longer-funny concepts for far too long. Also, their big closing number—a ukelele-based cover of Eminem—is a massive damp squib.

Thurs 6 – Sat 8 May / 10pm / Club Ivy

The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyatt!

THEA302 and 324 students have been working their brains out to bring this production to the stage. They say it’s gonna be real good. But they would. You should see it anyway, to support your fellow students. It’s directed by David Lawrence, who’s directed some good stuff before, so the odds are good that you’ll have a bit of a time.

It’s running from 19 – 22 May at 77 Fairlie Tce. Tickets are $8 for poor people and for people with money. You can book by emailing theatre@vuw.ac.nz or calling (04) 463 5359.

Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane

I went to Ricketts Lane wildly excited. Sammy J’s previous show was probably my favourite comedy ever. I mean it’s tough, a show with numerous puppets, set in a magical forest versus the tale of Sammy J and his flatmate, the awkwardness of their friendship when Sammy gets Randy imprisoned for tax fraud. There just wasn’t that same originality that made Forest of Dreams so surprising and such a delight. That said, the show was hilarious and full of gems.

Tue 4 – Sat 8 May / 8pm / at Downstage

Not by Uther Dean, actually by Fiona McNamara

What’s on this week!

  • The Nero Show at Circa should be a laugh.
  • Lullaby Jock opens at Downstage, directed by Tim Spite, will probs be quite good.
  • Tea for Toot opens at BATS, made by the young theatre makers who are going to be really quite a big deal someday.
  • Also on at BATS is Coffee Cups & A Porridge Pot at Frying Pan Lake, a show by Rose Tin Teacaddy. Which I know very little about. But, if you want to be as smart as you feel, you better go anyway.
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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

Comments (2)

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  1. Alyx says:

    Re: Rhys Mathewson – not sure whether Uther or Fiona wrote this one, but its just plain wrong. Sure, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion about somebody’s work – but Rhys Mathewson just won the Billy T Award 2010. He’s 19. Yes, he has HUGE passion but he also has his own voice. I’d hazard a guess at saying that whoever wrote this didn’t attend Rhys’ show this year. I did. It was fucking awesome. He’s a big talent, he’s got his own perspective and just because somebody is ‘young’ doesn’t mean that their stuff is mimicry or imitative.

    His show was called Rhyspect, about himself and his experiences gaining respect for himself. Sensing a theme? It was about him. Told in his own way, in his own voice – both literally and figuratively.

  2. Uther Dean says:

    I wrote that review.
    I attended his show.
    Awards don’t mean anything.

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