ELI MATTHEWSON - Faith
BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
29/04/2015 - 02/05/2015
NZ International Comedy Festival 2015
Eli was a card-carrying, Parachute-attending, Christian teenager who gave it all up for the life of guilt-free sinning. But did he make the right choice?
The little gay rock-star of New Zealand comedy is back with a second nomination for the Billy T, with a brand new show that explores life after leaving youth group.
“Borderline genius” – TVNZ
WELLINGTON Wed 29 April – Sat 2 May, 9pm
The Dome at BATS Theatre, Wellington
Groups 6+ $13.00* service fees may apply
04 809 4175
Effacing, insightful, affirming and fun
Review by John Smythe 30th Apr 2015
He’s very proud of his shirt from Uniqlo Australia, censorious of the One Square Meal brand and the Men’s Right’s movement … But it’s when he apologises to girls, other boys and Jesus for having a boyfriend that Eli Matthewson gets on to his central quest. Being a lapsed Christian from Christchurch who is gay and living in Auckland, what can he put is faith in now?
It is a strong premise for self-reflective and somewhat confessional standup, cleverly book-ended (more or less) with an upbeat song about what God said to Noah. First mentioned as something he can’t help singing along to when his nephew is treated to it by his ever-believing parents, he ends the show with the version he will one day sing to his nephew – and that’s where his beliefs come through.
Meanwhile he entertains us by musing on what would happen if ISIS tried to attack a mall in Auckland; negging, including how God might neg you; his mother’s vision of heaven; how he responds to compliments; his epiphany aged 8; how parents may express their pride over an atheist child; the “worst part of being gay”; Sylvanian families; a gift from Subway; gay pornography; how he came out (also covered in his 2013 show Proposition: Great!); his goal for next new year’s eve; his personality type …
He covers a lot of territory in his faith-seeking quest, mostly in a relaxed and affable way. Using a mic in the Bats Dome space seems a bit redundant, except for the uke-accompanied song, but I guess it’s good practice for bigger venues. It’s also redundant in a comedy show to keep saying, “I’m joking,” and fortunately he drops that early on. A tendency to laugh not-so-inwardly when a gag goes well is probably inevitable as a new show beds in, and something he will doubtless modify as the season progresses.
Effacing, insightful, affirming and fun, Faith makes for a fine hour of comedy.
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