Philip Carter Family Auditorium, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch

19/01/2018 - 19/01/2018


Production Details

Bringing her solo show to the World Buskers Festival for one night only!

Cal’s always been a bit of a people pleaser. This year that changes. She’s saying all the things she’s never said: about feminism, politics, and those brown shoes her husband won’t throw out.

Phillip Carter Family Auditorium at the Christchurch Art Gallery
19 January 2018

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

55 mins

Individual style and originality captivates

Review by Tony Ryan 20th Jan 2018

Cal Wilson kicks off the ‘Nothing But Stand Up Divas’ series at the World buskers Festival with a show she calls Things I’ve Never Said. But so much of what she has to say seems so dear to her heart that I can’t help feeling she’s said it all quite a lot before. 

In the rather intimate setting of this auditorium, Wilson’s engaging personality gives me the feeling that she’s speaking directly to me and I’m immediately drawn in by her personal stories, family allusions and fast-paced patter. Like many stand-up comedians (by which term I include comediennes) her own personal experiences are the essence of her material and the observations and perceptions she makes regarding those experiences range from gentle humour to laugh-out-loud hilarity.

Like a few comics I’ve seen recently, Wilson sometimes allows herself to lapse into material on her pet topics that is less overtly humorous and, although she is unfailingly engaging and amusing to listen to, I can’t help feeling she needs to find ways of introducing more comic invention to help get her message across.  That’s not to say that we don’t laugh a great deal, we do, and at times she builds to such climaxes of wit and comic punch that I can hardly contain myself.

The best stand-ups are, for me, those who have something real and thought-provoking to say, as Wilson certainly does. The art of good comedy helps us to see ourselves, to laugh at ourselves and to think about the realities behind the punchlines. Cal Wilson’s extremely funny perspectives on bringing up children, shopping, driving, sex and politics all hit the mark superbly.

When it comes to racism and feminism, her observations are equally perceptive, creative and, mostly, as comically priceless. But it’s on these topics, especially, that she lets her strong feelings get the better of her art and where humour sometimes, although briefly, takes more of a back seat.

I tire of comedians who think that merely daring to use the worst swear-words and sexual images is actually funny. Cal Wilson certainly doesn’t avoid such content but, like the best comedians, her references are unfailingly amusing, original and, while an element of ‘dare’ is certainly present, its effect is to check any lingering prudishness that we may possess, and is all the more droll and thought-provoking for that.

Overall, an enjoyable, entertaining and captivating hour with fast-paced delivery and lots of laughter. Once again, Donald Trump proves his worth as the provider of some great comic ideas, but Cal Wilson’s individual style, original take on so many aspects of life and genuine comic talent are what make her act an excellent start to the festival’s line-up of stand-ups. 


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