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El Jaguar: In Fiesta - review

May 12, 2016 Theatre

Who’d have thought an ex-Mexican wrestler would be such a good host? Much to my delight, El Jaguar was more approachable than he seemed when walking around Toto’s Pizza before the show in his old red luchador costume.

To start the show El Jaguar, played by Derek Flores, presented a line graph of his pending performance. We’d already started on a high but we would now delve to a low plateau before a slight peak and sudden ending – much like life itself. However the sense of warmth in the room meant that if the show was a venn diagram there was a large overlap of entertainment and catharsis, making it an all-round highlight of the festival.

As a member of a small audience I felt right at home with the festivities; sharing a toast, a shot and a bowl of corn chips under colourful balloon bunting. El Jaguar’s huge energy was felt by us all and, surprisingly, I didn’t mind answering the Canadian-born comedian’s probing questions. Now based in Christchurch, El Jaguar understands the New Zealand comedy crowd and he worked hard for the laughs in-between awkwardly well-timed ‘okay’s’.

By the end of the show he knew everyone’s name and occupation, and the relationship most of us have with our father.  Although he professed to be no Oprah, Flores was well suited to tougher topics. With a background in improvisation and street performance he managed to orchestrate a complicated Mexican wave while convincing us to laugh off the tougher times. Maybe I don’t go out enough, but this was the best party I have been to in a while.

El Jaguar In Fiesta, until 14 May, Montecristo. Book tickets.


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