San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

07/05/2013 - 11/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


In January this year Ewen “The Westie” Gilmour turned 50. Yip. 50. Was it a time for reflection? Was it a time to address any demons and lay the positive framework for the next 50 years of his life? Maybe… but probably not eh. 

Tattoos, motorbikes, beer, fast cars, cholesterol, hearing aids, and your local GP becoming more than just a friend…

Join Ewen as he finds out what it means to be aging disgracefully. What are the things every man has to look forward to with the coming of age? What are the good bits and what are the bad bits (Ewen classes a prostate check in both the good and bad categories).

Ewen’s outrageous style, sometimes wicked other time self deprecating, comes to the fore. Endless one-liners and hilarious stories make Ewen Gilmour’s Midlife Circus his best solo show to date and after a 4 year’s marks his return to Wellington. He cannot wait.

Voted the NZ Comedy Guilds “male Comedian of the Decade” last year, 2012 saw Ewen play host to the hit TV3 show Road Madness as well as featuring in Funny Roots and A Night at The Classic.

Ewen classes his major achievement of 2012 as being voted New Zealand’s Worst Dressed Man; an honour that he takes seriously and hopes to make a yearly occurrence.

Live on stage is where the funny man shines and what could be better than seeing him on stage at the home of Wellington Comedy The San Francisco Bath House.

Ewen has appeared in every live venue in New Zealand and has performed all over the world including Montreal, Ireland, Paris, Australia and Brussels and was twice invited to entertain the NZ troops in East Timor.

The king of one-liners and a true kiwi comedy icon in an entirely new one show – this is one not to miss.

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival

Dates: Tue 7 – Sat 11 May, 8.30 pm
Venue: San Francisco Bath House, 171 Cuba St
Tickets:  $22.50 – $25
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)or www.ticketek.co.nz   

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to www.comedyfestival.co.nz 

Well structured, accessible, f*ckin’ funny Westie humour

Review by Nancy Catherine Fulford 09th May 2013

Ewen Gilmore’s show Midlife Circus is f*ckin’ funny. I don’t usually swear, but after last night, I quite like it. It’s relaxing and reminds me of Ewen and what a great time I had. Man it was funny.

But not just funny: it was clever. Not the content strictly speaking, which was as Westie home-grown as it gets, but rather the actual crafting of the anecdotes and incidents the humour hung off. Yes there’s no denying this show was extremely well hung.

I’ve never much liked acts that come back and back to talking about orifices, but that’s all in the past now. I laughed at every last dirty little detail, till my cheeks hurt.  My theory on this conversion has two lines of reason.

First of all, structure. Gilmore is well experienced at this business, being over two decades in the trade, and he doesn’t waste a word. Stories loop back around and meet up with other stories just like in real life. It all fits together like magic and Gilmore has made us party to what feels like inside jokes. While he did hassle a few punters, largely we felt clever because we knew what was going down. Him for starters, and he shows us exactly what that would look like. 

And secondly Ewen Gilmore makes himself accessible as a real person, which is often not the case in my experience of solo comedy shows. He came out as ‘a guy’ and spent a couple of minutes just there. In watching him arrive on stage in that mode, and not as someone instantly determined to make us laugh, I felt I had a moment to move towards him. That’s different than immediately being on the receiving end, and was really powerful.

It piqued my interest about who exactly this was in front of me and what was his take on life, mid-life especially. I believe this initial realness shifted me enough to be comfortable with a lot of content I wouldn’t usually handle well. On top of the aesthetic, or should we say poetic distance established, I could feel the heart behind the comic genius and while that might sound a bit woofy, we’re reviewing a show by an iconic Westie figure let’s not forget.  Fuck he was funny.

Gilmore brings us back down to earth midway through the show in talking openly with us about the loss of his wife Cathy. I admire his decision to integrate a very significant aspect of his life journey into his work. He has chosen to create a show that taps into the circus of midlife; a time when many of us first begin to experience the loss of family members and why shouldn’t it be there. What was ever gained from pretending the things that really count don’t exist?

And in that time of speaking about the gravity of loss, we understand that this is the same guy we met in the first few minutes, who is just like us. In other moments we know it is a guy, like us, who has clearly worked really hard to put together a stunning collection of stories that paint a really vivid picture, of one of us, through a comic lens. 

I love that the characters are so real I’m sure I’d know them on sight: the hot vet, the testy neighbour, all of the drug-detection team and especially Password the lap dog, and the back end of him especially.

Gilmore’s physical comedy is a feature for me. He uses it sparingly but damn I get excited when I can tell he’s heading towards another ‘enactment.’ His economy and timing are fabulous and he takes topics I have seen worked before to new heights of hilarity. The scene in which he takes us around the hotel room in the spirit of a bored adolescent will forever stay with me and while I will have to use a tissue to pick up the phone or flick the light switch in future, it was worth it.

This is a show about us, the bawdy side, home-grown in New Zealand Aotearoa. If you’re looking for a really good hard laugh and you enjoy the thrill of recognizing a Kiwi context, GO. It’s definitely history in the making.


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