19 Tory St, Wellington

26/04/2016 - 30/04/2016

Auckland Old Folks Association. 8 Gundry Street (off K' Road), Auckland

12/05/2016 - 14/05/2016

Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

11/10/2017 - 14/10/2017

NZ International Comedy Festival 2016

Production Details

Winning new fans at the 2014 and 2015 New Zealand International Comedy Festivals with fast-paced, physical farces A Show About Superheroes and Spyfinger!, My Accomplice are bringing something new to the 2016 Comedy Festival. My Accomplice have proved their mettle with the story-show format in the past (with award-winning Everything Is Surrounded By Water) – and now Uther Dean is bringing that audience-favourite format to the comedy world. 

A Public Airing of Grievances is three magical realist stories told by award-winning storyteller Uther Dean, that twist around each other leading to a hilarious and touching conclusion. Dean’s previous work in this style (written with and directed by Hannah Banks), Everything is Surrounded by Water, won Best Solo at the 2014 New Zealand Fringe Awards as well as being nominated for Best Theatre.

While superficially similar to stand-up comedy, Dean’s story-telling style works towards the accumulation of comedy over time as a consequence of the stories rather than as the sole aim. His wry, surreal, satirical style has earned him praise from many corners and seen him published in Sport, The Listener, The Wireless and The Pantograph Punch as well as having a radio drama commissioned by Radio New Zealand and a feature script by Gibson Group. He is currently on the writing staff of Power Rangers.

The Wellington season
17 Tory Street
26-30 April 2016

The Auckland season
The Auckland Old Folks’ Association
12-14 May 2016 


Basement Theatre Studio
11 Oct – 14 Oct 2017
8:30pm (Weds 6:30pm)
Tickets: $18–$22
Bookings: www.basementtheatre.co.nz or phone iTicket 09 361 1000

Tickets to both Everything is Surrounded by Water and A Public Airing of Grievances: $25–$30 

Theatre , Spoken word , Solo , Comedy ,

Everything is Surrounded by Storytelling #2

Review by Matt Baker 13th Oct 2017

If you enjoy Everything is Surrounded by Water, then you’ll enjoy A Public Airing of Personal Grievances (by Uther Dean feat. Tiny Temper feat. Labyrinth), and vice versa. Where the first is a drama with comedy, the second is a comedy with drama; a balance only perceptible due to the knowledge that the latter was first performed at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival earlier this year.

In this case, comedy is not tragedy plus time, but tragedy plus timing. Dean knows exactly where to take a breath and how to hit the words to ensure the most resonant musicality of his text. A talented wordsmith, he wields nouns and verbs with razor sharp precision, and uses adjectives to perform coups de grâce. [More


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Effortless switching from funny to profound

Review by Leigh Sykes 11th Oct 2017

Described in its publicity material as “a darkly-comic stand-up story”, the performance begins in regular stand-up fashion with an off-stage introduction asking us to welcome Uther Dean to the stage. Dean is a quick to explain the format of the show to us: there will definitely be some jokes and the show will end with a story. 

He then proceeds to try to race through as many jokes as possible at the start of the show, in order to uphold the promised stand-up comedy element. The range of material is wide and the majority of the jokes hit the mark, generating plenty of laughs. Dean is skilful at probing the audience and finding what is successful, while also priming us for other elements of the show. He does cheekily suggest that we may not be smart enough to respond appropriately to some of the material, but we accept that in good spirits. 

And then, before we realise it, he is telling us a story – a story about an actual public airing of a grievance, and, as we listen, we realise that this is profound and unsettling stuff. Just as we are absorbing this, Dean quickly switches back to making us laugh. This is a tactic that is used cleverly throughout the show, demonstrating the skill that has gone into the crafting of the material. Stories that seem to be complete are returned to later in the show, in ways that give us a new perspective on them, and which illuminate other aspects of other stories. 

On the surface of it, there seem to be few links between a series of worsts – job, accommodation, experience – and yet over the course of the show, those links become clear in ways that are both funny and moving. I am quite surprised by how something as mundane as yoghurt becomes a topic for jokes at the same time as being a symbol for aspects of humanity. I think my favourite sequence relates to Dean’s self-proclaimed “worst superhero of all time”, as it makes me laugh with joy and recognition at the same time. Not far behind this for favourite sequence is his performance of ‘Frisky’ by Tinie Tempah, feat. Labyrinth, supported by a very funny riff on the title of the show. 

The thing I enjoy most about Dean’s performance is his ability to switch seemingly effortlessly from funny to profound. He is very skilled at misdirecting the audience, prompting us to laugh at one moment, before realising that there is something else under the humour that demands our attention. This ability sometimes seems to take the audience by surprise, prompting moments of deep silence that signify a rapid change of gear as we struggle to respond to the deeper subject matter as quickly as Dean is able to. In the way of all really good comedy, this show makes us think as well as laugh, and is a much richer experience for that. 


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Candid and intimate: will surprise, delight and entertain

Review by Dianne Tennent 27th Apr 2016

Are we all good people, corrupted by the ills of the world? Or are we just bad people who sometimes do good things? Uther Dean invites us to address this question with uncompromising honesty. And Yoplait (it’s French for yoghurt).

With self-effacing comedic wit, punctuated with brief sojourns into the profound, Dean takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey through a series of interconnected anecdotes that converge into a raw and frank confession. He confronts us with our own demons: how he fills the emptiness, the callous breaking of hearts and the crippling fear of being alone. What is our moral duty when we find ourselves caught up in an unsustainable childish romance? In a particularly confronting moment, Dean offers up two alternatives and we privately recognise ourselves in each.

A veteran of the Wellington theatre scene, Dean opts for the one-man storytelling format to achieve the sureness of directly addressing his audience and inviting us to imagine with him. Indeed the story unfolds within the minds of the audience as he expertly guides us through his maze of grievances and afflictions. But don’t worry – it’s still a comedy show.

Dean’s technical skill in storytelling is showcased with his effective creation of suspense in that the story is perpetually ‘beginning’. And we believe him until the bite-sized finale where we realise we have been taken for a wild ride – the story has happened before we are even aware of it.  

This candid and intimate window into A Public Airing of Grievances will surprise, delight and entertain. And all for a humble, unassuming koha. 


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