Apr 24, 2016 Theatre
In 18-year-old Natasha Hoyland’s debut NZ International Comedy Festival show, she’s joined by three others: up-and-coming 17-year-old comedian Jack Ansett, who opens the show, and two backing dancers dressed as vegetables.
Over the course of a fast 45-minutes, Hoyland teases the humour out of experiences as routine as queuing for the toilet and encountering jerks on Tinder, and the inconsistencies of the English language. She has a bouncy physicality that sets a literal pace for her material, which sometimes entails pausing for breath after impromptu dances/raps/interactive interludes with audience members. Throw in the aforementioned sidekicks and Food for Thought has all the ingredients (pun intended) for a rip-roaring time.
Unfortunately, it falls short because there aren’t enough actual jokes, meaning the theatrics sometimes feel like conspicuous padding. Furthermore, while themes should never bind an artist, the show’s structure means that a lettuce-topped table sits unused for most of it while Hoyland explores unrelated topics. It leads to a distracting sense of anticipation; when is she going to get to the food stuff? When she does get there, the writing is strong, from kombucha conspiracy theories to a conviction that doppelgänger Nadia Lim is out to get her.
Hoyland consistently delivers laughs in 140 characters on Twitter; if a similar thoughtfulness was applied to every element of this show, and there was more of it, she’d be on to a real winner. She’s definitely one to watch.
Food for Thought, 26-30 April, Q Theatre. Book tickets.