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NZ International Comedy Festival: Final week round-up

May 11, 2015 Theatre

As the 2015 Comedy Festival enters it’s final week, Greg Bruce takes a look at the highs and lows so far.


More than ever before, there is a New Zealand comedy scene filled with talented people. Many of them have clustered together, living together, hanging out together, writing for Jono and Ben, performing in underground comedy nights, doing blogs and podcasts, writing for websites.

Not all of them are delivering brilliant shows, which is partly a product of the lack of money and performance time available to your average struggling New Zealand comedian, but most of them are producing at least moments of brilliance. There’s an excitement around this group, and a feeling that somebody’s going to break out and go big, and that it might even have happened when Rose Matafeo ripped The Basement a new one in her brilliant show, Finally Dead.

Brilliant mime Trygve Wakenshaw, to some extent, has already broken out, and his show was again a festival highlight, and would have been a highlight anywhere.

Sometimes during this year’s festival, some of the local performers have seemed strangely angry about negative reviews, which is understandable because some of the reviews have been among the most poorly written things that have ever been written. But still, when you’re out there on social media attacking reviewers for not liking your show, it doesn’t look great. Social media might be a good place to work on material, but an even better place to work on material might be somewhere away from social media.

The most critically acclaimed performer at this year’s festival has also been the least noticed. Comedians’ comedian Daniel Kitson came and went, performing over four nights, without a single review ticket being issued. Was it good? Apparently.

Noel Fielding, of The Mighty Boosh, has probably been the festival’s biggest star, and his single night performance of his wackadoodle show, at two and a half hours, was about as long as some other performers performed across a week.

What’s left? This week’s big draw is Live Live Cinema, the much talked about creation of Leon Radojkovic, involving a few people on a stage producing all the sound effects, music and dialogue to the film version of Little Shop of Horrors, which is playing in the background.

EastEnd Cabaret’s show Perverts looks refreshingly weird and and has been talked up by Wellingtonians, who saw it last week.

There are still talented New Zealand performers to see too. Guy Williams is performing at Montecristo, Nic Sampson is at The Basement and Eli Mathewson is at The Basement Studio.

If you’re still feeling capable of laughter, go, laugh. And if not, go anyway. There may not be any comedy around here for a while.

The NZ International Comedy Festival runs until May 17 in Auckland.


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