CAL WILSON: It Could Have Been Me

TVNZ Festival Club, Arts Centre, Christchurch

10/09/2015 - 11/09/2015

Christchurch Arts Festival 2015

Production Details

An hour of stand-up with Cal and her three alter egos all live on stage as she explores what happens if you had another life … Christchurch audiences are in for a laughing treat.

10 & 11 September
TVNZ Festival Club, The Arts Centre
Book 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

Theatre ,

Jokes become running gags that dance their way to a satisfying pay-off

Review by Erin Harrington 11th Sep 2015

If comedian Cal Wilson is having a mid-life crisis, it’s certainly the cheeriest one I’ve seen. It Could Have Been Me gives Wilson the opportunity to examine the path her life has taken and think about some of the people she may have become, if only she’d hung onto an early job as a birthday party fairy, kept hooking up with volatile losers, or carried on with the very short-lived (and incorrect) assumption that ardent feminists need to be unfulfilled, humourless shrews.  

I attend with a young adult novelist who is an even bigger sci-fi nerd than I am, and we find Wilson’s portrayal of a misogynist male science fiction author (whose name I can’t remember but it might as well be ‘Douchebag Braggadocio’) to be a pitch-perfect skewering of the sort of anti-feminist troll who thinks that a ‘strong female character’ is one who can open a jar with her cleavage. 

While each of the characters are great standalone creations, and Wilson’s characterisations are deft and nuanced, the show very cleverly stitches their stories together. A series of well-planted jokes bloom into delightful running gags, especially as the belligerent could-have-beens begin to gang up on Wilson and the piece dances its way towards a satisfying pay-off. 

Off-the-cuff material is incorporated with finesse, and an audience member who becomes the butt of a number of very good-natured jokes takes it all with grace. An added pleasure comes from the fact that this is the first time in fifteen-ish years that Wilson has delivered a show in her hometown. No tall poppy syndrome or disgruntled calls of “I know your mum” here – the show goes down a treat. 

A shame-faced admission: if I’m asked to go see comedy based on multiple characters my response is often ‘hrmmm’, but Wilson’s show is bloody great and tells me to take my poorly-conceived expectations and jam them somewhere uncomfortable. 


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