Aiken Hutcheson and Graeme Clarke in UNACCOMPANIED ADULTS
Q Theatre, The Vault, Auckland
28/04/2017 - 29/04/2017
NZ International Comedy Festival 2017
Growing old is easy, growing up is hard
On the 28th and 29th of April, right out the gate of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival, up-and-coming comedians from not-Auckland Aiken Hutcheson and Graeme Clarke are going to show you how not to handle adult life.
Come see these two men of different generations, and homelands, come to the same conclusion in the Vault of the Q Theatre: whoever gave them permission to participate in society is a goddamn moron.
Aiken Hutcheson is the tallest comedian since Paul Ego. No wait. That’s Guy Williams. The tallest comedian since Guy Williams. Which isn’t that long ago when you think about it. His abstract observational stories about being thoroughly under-equipped for day-to-day life are both relatable, and completely unrelatable. For this, his second NZ International Comedy Fest show, he is back with a whole new, far funnier attitude. Think Jerry Seinfeld, if his comedy style was reimagined by Salvador Dali.
Canadian expat Graeme Clarke has taken the Auckland scene by blizzard. With not a single word wasted, his abrasive wit will have you bouncing three inches off your seat laughing, and questioning your beliefs at the same time. His comedy from obscure places is unexpectedly relatable, like a nod-along sneak attack. A suave confidence with a gritty presence makes Graeme likeable in an endearingly uncomfortable way.
Come see a couple of useless manchildren make you laugh, cringe, and feel really good about how you’re doing so far. If there’s one thing their show can promise, you’ll leave worrying whether or not those two will make it home okay.
“Aiken is a gifted wordsmith, plucking ideal metaphors and comparisons from the air like fruit from a tree. Meanwhile, in the other corner, simmering with intent and possessing smooth killer lines with a dangerous edge, grinning Graeme is his perfect Tyler Durden.” – Simon McKinney
“Aiken has a good eye for the absurd and is willing to let us laugh with and at him” – Theatreview
“Every time I watch [Graeme] I piss myself. High octane and very funny” – Brendhan Lovegrove
Venue: Vault at Q, 305 Queen Street
Fri 28 April – Sat 29 April
$16 – $20
Bookings: www.qtheatre.co.nz/whats-on // 09 309 9771
Theatre , Comedy ,
A fairly undemanding hour
Review by Leigh Sykes 29th Apr 2017
The description of the show suggests an interesting premise: “Life is like learning the recorder. It looks way easier than it is, you’re mostly blowing hot air, and it results in a lot of internal screaming… Aiken and Graeme do life like a couple of five-year-olds with one of those screeching plastic catastrophes in their mouths. Aiken and Graeme are Unaccompanied Adults.”
I anticipate an experience that consists of the two performers working together but in reality the show is a standard stand-up format, giving time to each performer individually and tenuously linked through a style of personal, observational comedy.
Our MC is Will (whose last name I do not catch – I’m so sorry!), who confidently generates laughs riffing on the fact that he hails from West Auckland. There are many chuckles of recognition in the audience, as he suggests he was forced to move from West Auckland because he is too white. Having warmed the audience up, he introduces the first Unaccompanied Adult: Aiken Hutcheson.
Hutcheson’s style is quite laid back as he unpacks some issues and unexpected side effects that come along with being very tall. He takes us through some workplace problems (diners having to interact with his crotch as he waits tables) as well as some of his experiences with showers and shower products. He is very self-effacing and invites us to laugh at his discomfort, meaning that most of his subject matter is designed to make us feel slightly sorry for him. His set succeeds in pulling all of his material together (in a slightly gross way) at the end, leaving me ‘quietly amused’ overall.
After another brief interlude from our MC, the second Unaccompanied Adult, Graeme Clarke, takes the stage, with a much more ‘Comedy Festival’ (his description) entrance, set to music. He performs with energy and makes great use of his mobile and funny facial expression, as he first riffs on the fact that being Canadian allows him to give Americans a really bad name when people assume that he is from the US. He has some interesting material based on accents and shows some talent as a mimic when discussing the Kiwi accent.
Clarke’s material is also very firmly based on himself and his own experiences, with each section neatly building on the previous one. There are some politically incorrect jokes that I don’t find terribly funny, but I do like the section that deals with his subconscious, particularly the song performed by Tom (I’m sorry, once again I didn’t catch the last name!), as well as his riff on how the internet means we must be very careful about the lies that we tell children.
His bitterness at finding that he couldn’t be anything he wanted and his experiences of Wellington with his girlfriend also strike a chord with the audience. I like the craft that has gone into the smooth segues in this set, as well as the fact that aspects in each section are revisited and reviewed.
Although not entirely what I expected, based on the description in the Comedy Festival programme, this is a fairly undemanding hour of amusement.
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