Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

14/05/2009 - 16/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

The bomb has been dropped …

The world is a radioactive Wasteland, and the last few humans alive are isolated within a small community of two person fallout shelters.

Bunkers is a dark comedy written and performed by Auckland’s newest and most alternative sketch group Raygun Gothic, all about men and women waiting-out the end of the world and fighting the constant battle with insanity, cannibalism, drug abuse, spontaneous song-and-dance and – most importantly – boredom. With an array of over 15 colourful, complex characters and just one stage to house them all, Raygun Gothic takes the audience on a journey into madness and isolation in this unique blend of sketch comedy and post-modern theatre.

Raygun Gothic is comprised of Calum Beck, Andrew Killip and Moody Hikmet, who together form a trio more powerful and obscure in nature than the Samurai Pizza Cats. With a common love of writing, acting and Sam Raimi films, and after years of individual work in the New Zealand comedy scene, they decided to combine their efforts into this year’s festival show. All former students of Macleans College, Calum and Moody were both Class comedians during their 7th form years, while Andrew Killip has co-written many live theatre productions. 

It should be noted that Calum and Andrew were responsible for writing and producing many of the video sketches featured in last years award nominated show "LOL", and received rave reviews for their contribution in University magazines. 

While Bunkers is certainly not for everyone, it is sure to tickle the funny bone of anyone with a dark streak and a deep love of popular culture. And with jokes galore and more wacky circumstances than you can shake a Geiger counter at, this show will even have the Goths laughing.

Dates:  May 14th, 15th, 16th, 10pm
Venue:  The Basement Theatre
Tickets:  $15 Adult, $12 Student / Groups 10+
Bookings:  0800Ticketek (842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz

1hr, no interval

Divergent wit fails to fly

Review by Nik Smythe 15th May 2009

It’s always exciting and a little bit special to get along to a Comedy Festival show that is more than just your basic standup, something more theatrical with props and characters and if you’re really lucky even a story.

Bunkers has all these things, plus an off-stage narrator who calls everyone "Billy" as he takes us through the ensuing apocalypse step by step with the air of a wartime newsreel voiceover.  The three onstage actors are Class Comedian graduates with fairly distinct personalities: Calum the uptight square, Andrew the light-hearted goober and Moody the confused waster.

The story is of a Nuclear winter, where all the survivors of the apocalypse are pared off into functionally designed bunkers, waiting for the fallout to pass and all the zombies and mutants outside to expire.

In their variant roles, each performer ranges from overacting to half-hearted cursory expression.  Calum Beck seems to override self-consciousness with a kind of posey bravado that fails to connect, with me at least.  Andrew Killip is affable, but lazy with his actions and sloppy with his diction.  Moody Hikmet has the most natural style as an actor, but he’s still under-rehearsed. The narrator (Ben Kettel) comes close to fitting the bill but also needs work on his elocutions.

In one bunker there’s the pregnant wife and her husband’s sleazy best friend; in the next dwells said wife’s husband Felix and his irascibly simple friend Oscar (no really!); in another we find Dan Bandit the Capitalism addict (and entrepreneur behind the bunkers) and his stoned slacker bunkmate.  It’s like channel surfing between different second-rate sitcoms exploring the comedy of the end-of-the-world-by-human-hands situation.

Through these and many other absurd characters, it’s usually obvious what these boys are attempting, only most of the time it doesn’t quite fly.  Their text is rich with satire and divergent wit and it’s clear they must have had a fun time writing it, but a short two weeks rehearsal seems to not have been nearly enough to fully translate the potential of their script. 

Many rapid-fire stereotype vignettes reminded me of the altogether more polished antics of those Potted Potter lads, but these chaps have a ways to go to reach those heights of hilarity.  Sure, folks in the smallish opening night crowd were laughing supportively, though I would say more at the ideas than the execution. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


nom-de-web May 19th, 2009


The Invisible Reviewer May 18th, 2009

Well, Im back in Auckland, it's late, I have had a little too much merlot, what to do? Why not check out another show, but who can I see at 950pm on a Thursday night? "Bunkers",  three class comedian graduates...blah blah blah....etc. Three up and coming comics I'd never heard of before. But thats not difficult to understand really, I mean - how many of us actually go to a comedy show any other time than during the festival? Having said that, Ive been to quite a few by most standards and still I didn't recognise the names!

So 10pm, I buy my ticket and sit amongst the somewhat smallish crowd. I have to admit, I was'nt engaged by the performances of any of the three comics, call me a purist but I prefer actual comedy as opposed to comedic plays.

Calum was well rehearsed, fluffed a few lines but was essentially pretty good at keeping his energy levels in sync with the characters he was playing, however I peronally think he's taken his acting experience directly from a Goonies sketch, acting aside, I think some careful editing might have helped the show along a little further than what it actually achieved as there seemed to be a rush of dialogue that didn't really make sense in the situation, just  to set up a punchline. Less is more guys. 

Most of the exposition seemed to be dealt out by Andrew, his performance while slightly more convincing than the others still had me smiling on occasion and the highlight of the show for me was his tongue twisting monologue on Dan Bandit.

Moody on the other hand, well what can I say? He of the three probably has the best comedic timing, his performance though was lacking on the night, but this is opening night so I can only assume that it will get better with time. On the whole I'd say 4 1/2 out of 10. Certainly not the worst Ive ever seen and the quality of the shows I've managed to get along to so far have been of a higher standard than any of the festivals Ive been along to previously over the years. 

I recall seeing a guy at the Temple bar many moons ago who still takes the cake as the worst comedy show EVER. I forget what his name was but he played songs, on a bass guitar, using only one string .... and he was out of tune.

While this may not be the best review Ive written, it is no less written with the intent of offering what meagre advice I can offer as an audience member. These guys are in the infancy of their comedic journey, as such, I applaude loudly their efforts. The show was not great, but it is a beginning, next year, they will have this experience under their belts along with another years worth of stage performances to guide and mould their comedic selves into something richer than what was delivered this year.

Everyone starts somewhere, no one starts from greatness, greatness is achieved only by learning from your failures, while I wouldnt classify this show as a failure, Im sure there is a lot that all three will have learned from their endeavours. I for one would be quite keen to see what they do next year either as a group or individually, if only to see how far they had progressed and how another years worth of performance experience manifests itself.

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