Comedy Apocalypse (NZ)
04/05/2010 - 07/05/2010
Dates: Tues 4 – Fri 7 May, 5.30pm
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, City
Tickets: Adults $15 / Conc. $10 / Groups 10+ $10
Booking: 0800 TICKETEK (842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz / www.comedy.co.nz
Show Duration: 1 hour
Mixed bag, snack-sized
Review by Nik Smythe 05th May 2010
Last year’s Class Comedians become this year’s The Graduates (as listed in the festival programme under T for The – but in the centrespread calendar under C for Comedy). A total of ten cheeky young jokester-lings show off five odd minutes apiece of their comedy chops under the collective title, Comedy Apocalypse.
The considerable effort it takes just to step up to the mic notwithstanding, the production falls somewhat short of the advertised “like a meteor hitting the earth … spectacular!” To be fair though, they have a set design which not everyone bothers to do: a sort of fallout shelter theme with tinned food, chilly bins, petrol containers cricket bat, plus a couple of punk and heavy metal t-shirts for added nihilism. And of course a microphone.
Beyond this decorative touch the most spectacular it gets is a couple of slightly flamboyant outfits. They’re going for comic anti-climax no doubt. The Graduates comprise a mixed bag of awkward geeks, insufferable nerds and juvenile delinquents. Overall there’s a cuteness to them, in a ‘basket of kittens with distinct personalities, just learning to walk’ kind of way.
With four of the ten performers being female, it’s good to note that this upcoming generation of local comedy is closing the rather wide gender gap in the professional industry.
The emcee for the early evening Brie (she only told us her name just before the last act) takes an interesting approach, beginning with threatening would-be hecklers with hostile abuse. In general she comes off bitter and twisted before her time; whilst the irony she’s aiming for is glimpsed once or twice, it takes very strong comic timing to get away with being that obnoxious.
James Roque kicks off the hour with a bit of swearing, affably sharing details of arguments with his Filipino mother and revisiting Blue’s Clues after childhood. Following him is Jared Heelam, a confused looking beanie-clad reprobate from Henderson riffing on topics such as being on Police 10-7 and working as a telemarketer; amusing enough although occasionally going over our heads.
Next up is the show’s producer Brittany Hannaford, a casual-preppy lass whose humorous observations on flying with strangers and XT frustrations show her to be a worthy inclusion to the troupe, as opposed to only being there by exploiting her executive position. Then Edith Poor drolly regales us in gentle tones with some effective and confronting material on holidays, molestation and drug deals before getting a bit lost with her obscure Hitler-rap finish.
I expect it’s intentional that the fifth of nine acts is middle child James Leefe who delivers a short sweet set of old school set-em-up, knock-em-down gags. Next, Zane Fleming in his shiny dragon-embossed jeans is among the more in-their-element members of the crew. He flows through his routine well, culminating with road-testing some fairly dodgy pick-up lines.
Then there’s the painfully awkward wee Jayran Mansouri, whose simple reflections on amusing-sounding place names are enhanced by her mastery of the nervous pause. Second-to-last is Ajay (no surname given), a bookish lad with a precocious dry wit and notably the only one on the night to discuss the show’s title concept of Armageddon to any degree.
Finally, young Brit Lewis Dean gets more than a few laughs with his vaguely camp, foppish charm, though I confess at the tail end of such a rapid-fire barrage of sassy youths my brain’s a mite overloaded and I struggle to recall anything he actually said. I guess you get that.
It’s a mixed bag of snack-sized bites. Some of these kids may well prove to have a future in comedy. For the time being though, the world ain’t ending anytime soon.
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