Eli Matthewson AN INCONVENIENT POOF
Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington
15/05/2018 - 19/05/2018
NZ International Comedy Festival 2018
It’s been 10 years since Eli was made Environment Prefect at high school, and it’s hard to believe he still hasn’t saved the world. In fact… he’s starting to worry he’s made it worse.
When everything in the world seems terrible can this one Inconvenient Poof make a difference? A cutting new hour from one of NZ’s best young comedians.
Fred Award (Best NZ Show) Finalist 2017
“Nails every punchline” – NZ Herald
Facebook – Eli Matthewson
Twitter – @elimatthewson
Instagram – @elimatthewson
The Fringe Bar
TUE 15 May – SAT 19 May 2018
Full Price: $25 | Concession: $20
Group 6+: $20 | Cheap Wednesday: $18
*service fee may apply
Wheelchair accessible; Occasional bad language; Adult themes
R13, R18 unless with a parent or legal guardian
Theatre , Solo , Comedy ,
Genuinely and consistently funny
Review by Barnaby Olson 17th May 2018
“I don’t want to make a sweeping generalisation here, but I have to or else the joke won’t work.”
It’s around An Inconvenient Poof’s halfway point that its writer and performer Eli Matthewson comes out with this little gem. Like the overwhelming majority of his set, it goes down a treat but also it offers the most concise insight as to why everyone’s having such a good time.
For an hour Matthewson’s level of self-awareness is perfectly pitched and perfectly performed. With it, he manages to effortlessly play several archetypes – at times naïve and bumbling, at others scathing in his criticism of certain groups and/or their grammar. The joy underlying all of it is Matthewson’s ability to quickly and repeatedly make us doubt his self-awareness: the ultimate set-up for what is, in essence, a series of proverbial winks that allow us all to revel in the fact that it’s still there.
Matthewson is slick, he’s funny, he’s ‘edgier’ than I thought he would be, and he clearly knows this show intimately. Structurally it’s tight – virtually everything that gets a laugh is repurposed or revisited to great effect. His tone is conversational and comforting, and his is undoubtedly the most polished of any of the shows that I’ve seen in this year’s festival.
The content is ostensibly about the environment, but other than a coffee cup recycling ‘how-to’ bit and a Titanic reference there’s not much enviro-chat in there. It’s a brain-fart basically: an entertaining and easeful brain-fart that gives you the sense that it – being funny – all comes pretty naturally to Mathewson.
If anything, the hour feels a little light in spirit or drive. I’m generally unclear as to why this show exists, or what Matthewson’s intentions in writing it were. There are moments in which he seems to be rubbing up against things that he cares about – a sense of frustration at how slowly the general liberal millennial agenda seemed to be making progress is evident throughout – but those moments seem to fizzle out before they have started. That’s the next frontier for Matthewson, I reckon.
An Inconvenient Poof is very professional, very clever, but maybe I’m looking for a touch more vulnerability or questioning from Matthewson in certain moments. Regardless, it’s a bit of a masterclass in how to work a room, it’s genuinely and consistently funny, and I, like everyone, leave happy and smiling.
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