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Print Version

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

at Fringe Bar, 26 Allen St, Wellington
From 7 May 2014 to 10 May 2014

Reviewed by Maraea Rakuraku, 8 May 2014

The last time I saw Barnie Duncan was when he very convincingly played a Spaniard to hilarious effect in Briar Grace Smith's Paniora! at the International Arts Festival earlier this year. I haven't read any promotional material so I don't know what to expect with Juan. Two? Something Spanishy? Regardless, I know he'll have the accent sorted.

First off, respect to the audience. All are stellar participants, good natured and enthusiastic. No room for shy wallflowers here and I say that because they assist in what has got to be the best ending of a show ever!! Some even seem to run on stage to participate during the set. Now, that's keen. 

Secondly, Juan Vesuvius – the Venezuelan DJ – is a fantastic creation. Thirdly, Barnie Duncan can DJ! 

I enter to Vesuvius on stage, in front of his decks which are covered in flags and wearing a leave-nothing-to-the-imagination ski suit which he strips off revealing a leave-nothing-to-the-imagination calypso outfit. It may be because I am late or he's referencing his 2013 show Calypso Nights, where he was named Best Newcomer, that I don't really get what follows, though everyone else seems to. It makes me hang on in there.

Then something happens halfway through where suddenly I do get it and find myself loving it. The DJing is genius, the music selection perfect, the accompanying commentary is both informative and funny, and – well for want of any other adjective – genius.

When he creates a Calypso band it takes every bone in my body not to rush on stage and bitch-slap someone/ anyone out of the way. After that my review notes move into what can only be described as the equivalent of a repetitive, slurring drunk: this is really, really good, fantastic, this is good …!

Duncan's a consummate professional and stays in character the whole time. Each segue is impressively clean which means it looks effortless. Don't be mistaken though, some serious thought and work has gone into this. Respect man. Is Juan Vesuvius available for parties? 
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