Circus Bar 17b Allen Street, Wellington

24/02/2021 - 27/02/2021

Production Details

The spiciest American imports since Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, comedians Gavin Hews and Aaron Barber present the stand-up comedy tour, AMERICAN REFUGEES.

American Refugees is visiting cities across New Zealand from 18 February to 28 March.

Americans Gavin and Aaron share hilarious tales of experiencing the world as reluctant ambassadors of truth, justice, and the ever-bewildering American Way. Shows will feature local Kiwi comedians at every city and tour stop.

This summer, local flavour plus two American refugees are seeking asylum at a venue near you.

Circus Bar
24th, 25th, 26th, 27th of Feb 2021
Concession $10, Full $15 

Theatre , Comedy ,

They fulfil their brief as reluctant ambassadors

Review by Margaret Austin 25th Feb 2021

The Circus Bar proves a fitting venue for one of the Fringe Festival’s first shows. There’s the trans gender loo, the smell of popcorn and a bargirl who’s nonplussed by my offer of cash for a drink.

I’m greeted by Kate Barber, the American Refugees’ tour manager. The brightness of her smile belies the thankless nature of her job, I’m thinking, as I check the promotion notes on our two performers: Gavin Hews and Aaron Barber. But they’re American – so what do you expect? 

We’re in for an hour of stand-up comedy – with the point of difference being that it’s offered by a couple of “reluctant ambassadors of truth, justice, and the ever-bewildering American way”.

“We’re not making fun of refugees,” protests Hews, who’s first up. He lives in the Aro Valley – though we don’t learn that until near the end of his set. It might have given us more sympathy with him, knowing he shared his bedroom with a bonzai.

Hews takes pot shots at single sex schools, therapists, Jetstar and Simon Bridges as well as his own country. “‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is the only health insurance we can afford” is especially apt. There are only two Americans in the audience, so spontaneous repartee is a bit limited. 

Aaron Barber is Texas bred. His father-in-law made him help with castrating calves – not perhaps a propitious start for a stand-up comic. He was on the last flight to NZ before lockdown descended. The purpose of the tour (of which tonight’s performance is the first) is to find the right person in immigration.

He thinks we think Americans are dumb, learned about birth control in Boy Scouts and was lucky enough to move to Asia the day before Trump took office.

Our two entertainers can be congratulated for fulfilling their brief as reluctant ambassadors. The show will undoubtedly develop along the way – with exposure to larger audiences outside Wellington. It’ll be interesting to see it again in April. 


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