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NZ International Comedy Festival: Tom FitzHigham - review

May 6, 2014 Theatre

Tim FitzHigham – The Gambler
The Classic Studio

Monday 5 May, 2014

In some ways, Tim FitzHigham seemed quite normal, even boring. He’s married with a young baby and he has the dress sense and hairstyle of early 2000s Hugh Grant. Yet his show is all about his personal re-enactments of stupid bets from history and, oh gosh, are they ever stupid. One example: he tried to pull a one pound weight on a one mile rope across a field in under two and a half hours. Another: he tried to outrun a racehorse over 100 metres.

During his show, he introduced each bet and then asked the audience whether or not they thought he had succeeded in whatever madness he was trying to achieve, and they would cheer for either yes or no. Most of the bets were so ludicrous it was pretty impossible to guess either way and therefore a bit difficult to care.

Although he made out like there was a lot of money on the line, that didn’t feel legit, and what seemed most at stake was whether it would be Tim or his mates that would have the biggest laugh down the boozer after he had succeeded / failed in his latest craziness.

The bets never got bigger or crazier throughout the show, so there was no sense of movement toward anything. They started out crazy and stayed crazy and by the end nothing could have surprised us and therefore nothing did.

He namedropped easily and comfortably throughout, but the names weren’t all that great: Former world snooker champion Steve Davis; an actor friend who was in The Full Monty; former top chess player Nigel Short; Richard Hammond from Top Gear. He humblebragged about speaking to one of the world’s most unlikeable organisations, the World Economic Forum. He plugged his book about rowing the English Channel in a bathtub by pretending to not plug his book about rowing the English Channel in a bathtub.

It wasn’t all that funny but it wasn’t terrible. It was kind of interesting. It was a bit like being forced to look at the holiday snaps of a friend who’s a rock climber or a base jumper. They’re not the most boring holiday snaps, but they’re still holiday snaps.

Actually, it was more like one of those nights when you’re having dinner in the enforced company of a group of people you don’t really know, and the conversation starts out OK, but then one loud person takes over and, in spite of yourself, you can’t help hoping you’ll be home in time to watch Paul Henry.


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