May 10, 2019 Theatre
Chris Parker is warm and funny, but some jokes suffer from being too broad to feel truly hilarious.
Chris Parker hits the ground running more or less literally, bounding onto the stage to kick his show Iconique off with a hearty musical number. It’s high energy and a lot of fun, Parker’s wordplay endearing in the silly reaches he makes to get the lines to rhyme with iconic (he doesn’t get sick, he’s bubonic).
Parker, who won the Fred award for his show Camp Binch in 2018, is emulating the camp stars of his childhood, from Judy Garland to Barbara Streisand. They’re iconic, and he wants to be too. The show that follows isn’t quite an instant classic, but it’s an enjoyable hour of comedy.
There is something about Parker’s face which makes him seem (even when he’s trying his best to be bitchy) like a really nice person. At one point he jokes about not having straight friends as such, more like a few straights he sponsors – just a dollar a day. Sign me up! The feeling that this is my pal telling some silly anecdotes carries me through some of the jokes which feel a little broad or surface-level. I’d have loved, for example, for the material about the internet being bad for us to delve a little deeper than it did, given it’s not exactly a new observation. My favourite bits were when Parker delved into the unique oddness of his family – the competitiveness he feels with his straight brother, the explanation for some weird photos in the family album, their off-beat traditions.
But even when the humour feels a tad obvious, Parker’s sense of fun is so endearing, and his over-the-top performance never gets too much – a careful balance he’s no doubt honed during his years of theatre acting (he was absolutely brilliant in 2017’s Hudson and Halls Live!).
Iconique’s Auckland run is sold out, so you’ll need to bed borrow or steal to get in, but if you manage to wrangle a ticket you’ll be in for a fun night out with a lovely man.
Chris Parker is playing sold out shows at Q Theatre’s lost until May 11.