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Nic Sampson: Nic Sampson Has Fallen Down a Well - review

May 11, 2016 Theatre

It seems nearly every 20-something New Zealand comedian this year is doing some sort of sketch-stand-up hybrid for the comedy fest. For comedian, writer and actor Nic Sampson, his 2016 show feels like a reaction to the trend, with a seductive gimmick that’s quickly abandoned. Or so we’re led to believe. When the show fully embraces its premise, it makes for an entertaining performance that showcases Sampson’s talent.

Traditional stand up is mixed in with a spot of character acting as Sampson covers conventional topics like going to an all boys’ school and gradually leads us into the surreal. The show’s structure means the first half an hour is dedicated to set-up. When the second half arrives, we’re rewarded with call-backs galore as random characters and narrative threads reappear.

The concept is so strangely unique and laughable it would have been nice to see what Sampson could have done if he embraced it further throughout. It does end up feeling like two connected but different shows sewn together, but Sampson’s confident stage presence and seamless transition between characters somehow makes it all work. It relies on a lot of set up, but for a show set entirely down a well, it’s much funnier and more enjoyable than it has any right to be.

Nic Sampson: Nic Sampson Has Fallen Down a Well, until May 14th, the Basement Theatre. Book here.


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