Kitty O'Sheas, 28 Courtenay Place, Wellington

10/03/2015 - 12/03/2015

NZ Fringe Festival 2015 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

Fresh from a hugely successful Chch Fringe showing, Aiken Hutcheson brings Aik ‘n’ Sides to his hometown of Wellington. Along for the ride once again are two of the rising stars in the flourishing Chch comedy scene, Cameron McLeod and Snap presented by RuseWebsites.  

Kitty O’Shea’s
10-12 Mar 2015
A$15.00 | C/Stu$12.00 | FA$10.00 

Aik ‘n’ Sides Heading on Tour

After a stand out show at the Christchurch Fringe Festival, Wellington’s Aiken Hutcheson along with Christchurch lads Cameron Mcleod and Snap presented by RuseWebsites are taking their stand up show, Aik ‘n’ Sides, around the country. The show has been accepted into the Dunedin and Auckland Fringe Festivals, as well as the New Zealand Fringe Festival held in Wellington.

Not content with just hitting the Fringe Circuit, these ambitious young comics have decided to use their spare time between Auckland and Wellington, touring down the east coast of the North Island. The trio will be hitting Tuaranga, Whakatane, Gisborne and three yet to be announced locations.

Aiken Hutcheson has been performing for eighteen months and in that time he’s become a well known name within the Wellington scene, gigging regularly and often hosting open mic nights. For Aiken, this is the chance to take his career to the next stage and put himself in front of a national audience.

It is, of course, a huge opportunity for Cam and Snap as well, but they’ll also have the weight of the whole Chch scene on their shoulders. There is huge growth happening in Chch at the moment and real potential to have a comedy scene as big as any other city in NZ. Both Cam and Snap see this as an opportunity to show NZ that potential.

Tour Schedule: 

28th February Auckland, The Wine Cellar 
3rd March TBA
4th March Tauranga, Major Tom’s
5th March Whakatane, TBC
6th March Gisborne, The Dome
7th March TBA
8th March TBA
10th – 12th March Wellington, Kitty O’Shea’s, Wellington
17th – 18th March Dunedin, ReFuel 

This is a Grandpa Figs production.

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

Admirable impulses

Review by Shannon Friday 12th Mar 2015

Being funny is hard.  It takes tons of care and practice to go from “guy/girl who can make their friends laugh at a party” to “working comedian.”  So I love the project behind Aik’N’Sides: three young comediansAiken Hutcheson, Cameron McCleod and Snap presented by Ruse Websites (yes, that is his name) – band together and tour the country while honing their funny skills. It’s a great division of labour that allows each developing comedian to play with their persona and style without having to make a full hour of comedy. 

First up is Cameron McCleod, who brings a near-manic energy to the stage.  His approach to his set is really smart: he makes a game out of his need to overcome the audience’s inherent fear of being mocked and establish a rapport with us.  Or rather, with one person chosen to be the avatar for us. 

There’s an aspect of verbal clowning with this: each time McCleod opens up and tells a revealing story, he ‘icks out’ that particular audience member even more, getting ever further and further away from his goal.  It’s a clever approach, and as someone who totally fears sitting in the front row at stand-up shows, it’s great to see someone tackling this anxiety head-on. 

Now, if only the material matched it.  While the basic setup and conceit are strong, the individual joke setups often don’t match the payoffs.  In addition, McCleod has a tendency to default to borderline-homophobic dick jokes when he runs out of material.  Literally every time someone else’s dick gets a mention, it is as some sort of hypothetical punishment. Yes, you have a dick.  So does approximately half the population of the planet.  Get over it.  That said, I think these things are workable, and given the intelligence in the overall design of his comedy set, I think McCleod can fix this. 

The only thing I remember about Snap is that he has dreadlocks and wore a floral jacket. 

Aiken Hutcheson is the show’s ‘headliner,’ which seems an odd designation given the relative parity in time and skill between the comedians.  Hutcheson has a 90s throwback style of comedy – think Jerry Seinfeld – that is really refreshing after some of the rather self-involved comedy the precedes him. 

His set is a series of short riffs on various things that he – or his friend who studies biology – finds interesting.  And the choices are genuinely interesting, from the shark /squid dilemma faced by swimmers to space to stories from the world of food service. 

Aiken has a good eye for the absurd and is willing to let us laugh with and at him.  A  brilliant moment develops spontaneously as a couple in the audience identifies the restaurant he has been trying oh-so-carefully not to name for the entire set, and Hutcheson just goes with it.  It’s generous, and a great give-and-take. 

He’s playing with a quite ambitious structure to his set as well: each riff layers in a tiny joke for a callback later.  At the moment, that structure is about 80% there – his reincorporations come about five minutes too early in his set.  That said, Hutcheson is a young talent that I’m keen to see develop further.  And his impression of a squid is worth the price of admission alone. 

Aik’N’Sides is an incredibly ambitious show, and I admire the impulses and work that has gone into making this a New Zealand tour. And I wish more developing comedians would challenge themselves this way.  I look forward to what these three men bring in future.


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