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Print Version

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014
JONNY POTTS in The Delusionaries
Presented by Hair of the Dog Productions

at Puppies, cnr Tory & Vivian Streets, Wellington
From 7 May 2014 to 10 May 2014

Reviewed by John Smythe, 8 May 2014

The poster image for this – a parody of The Luminaries cover – is brilliant. And that's about as topical as The Delusionaries gets, apart from the fleeting reference Jonny Potts makes to Judith Collins by way of emphasising he's not going there. Even when he manifests the morally compromised fallen star of a local soap opera, he makes no reference to the day's headlines about a sportsman and a Shortland Street actress.

When he reminds us to vote I'm hopeful for some political satire* but he means the NZICF's People's Choice election (about which I can see nothing on the NZICF website). The observations about Wellingtonians v the Auckland Elite are good, though.

Declaring himself the curator rather than the star of the show, Potts runs his mic into the nearby dunny (“If you need to go to the lavatory during the show … don't”) so he can keep up the banter while “looking for” his next guest. Although the three are very different – comedic characterisation, especially vocal, is Jonny Potts' strong point – all are equally self-deluded.  

Pparenting expert Alan Legtit, exhumed from The No Nonsense Parenting Show Potts brought to The Fringe in 2012, lampoons a self-aggrandising ‘expert' who no longer (dis)graces our screens or screens, unless I am suffering from short-term Repressed Memory Syndrome. Also his presentation is devoid of the PowerPoint slides of yesteryear (“Try getting a projector in Wellington during the Comedy festival”). Nevertheless “ut's a wuckud send ip” of supposedly un-PC but actually wildly oxymoronic “tups for puruntung kuds”. He's an expert metaphor-mixer too.  

Actor Richie Richardson, well known for his core-cast role as Dr Bryn Catchall on the daily soap Medicine Street, has been out of the limelight for a while in the wake of “what I did” but that doesn't stop him dispensing his dubious advice on the art of acting, commenting on the Wellington theatre scene and having a crack at stand-up while waiting for his film to be crowd-funded. Some sharp barbs find their targets here.

The progenitor of Cool Youth Pastor has also been off the radar for a while in my perception, unless you follow him on Twitter, but everything about his prayerful proselytising is spookily familiar. He does impressions too, to prove his powers. And gets a volunteer up to participate in his ‘Blessed As' sketch. Wonderfully creepy.

Maybe the show could do with some more dynamic pacing and a bigger finish but overall, despite and unnervingly wobbly stage and the very relaxed vibe on stage and in the room, The Delusionaries is a cleverly crafted lo-tech show. It's a good opening house and Jonny Potts deserves more, “Even though I'm not on TV or a foreigner.”
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*Is it just me or is there a surprising lack of topical political satire from local comedians in this election year? 
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