BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
28/01/2020 - 01/02/2020
Get the nitty gritty on the hottest, real-life relationship of 2007
“It is a tribute to the performers’ obvious friendship and strong grasp of the concept, especially in their willingness to expose such a deeply personal and complicated part of themselves, that exes emerges as the perfect balance between silly farce and honest dialogue.” Theatrescenes
It’s been a decade since the real-life break-up of Brynley Stent (Funny Girls) and Eli Matthewson (The Male Gayz) but they’re reuniting, and they promise they’re going to work together in a mature and respectful way. Watch as they bring about a comedy show of unbridled joy, propelled by the kind of magnetic chemistry that can only exist between past lovers, one of whom is now gay. Don’t worry about them fighting, they’re honestly SO FINE now.
No show in 2020 will have more sexual tension than this. A runaway hit in Auckland, this is one of the funniest shows of the year.
BATS Theatre, The Random Stage
28 January – 1 February 2020
Full Price $22
Group 6+ $20
Concession Price $17
Student Night Special $15
The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.
Theatre , Comedy ,
Insight and humanity amid the comedy
Review by John Smythe 29th Jan 2020
Yes, Brynley Stent and Eli Matthewson totally did know each other at school in Christchurch, doing Theatre Sports, then ‘got together’ during a schools Shakespeare production: a heart-warming slide-show of photos attests to that. And yes, they totally did break up just over 10 years ago. But hey, they’re both professionals in the Auckland performing arts scene now, they sometimes work together – e.g. Have You Been Paying Attention? – so of course they’re totally fine with it all. So fine, in fact, that they’ve made this show about it.
Of course anyone who has truly been paying attention would know that Eli is gay. The show’s publicity says as much and his stand-out stand-up shows A Year of Magical F*cking and An Inconvenient Poof have celebrated it. So the breakup was clearly inevitable and obviously everyone has to be better off for it. So much so that they decide to jettison the script – “It’s all in the past!” – and entertain us with improv instead. And they are excellent improvisers too.
But the proverbial elephant is in the room and the snap scenes that build on random audience ask-fors keep colliding with it. It’s spooky. Besides, we have come expecting a show about Exes …
Thus evolves their very funny and compulsively upbeat – except when it’s not – recollection of the whole catastrophe (from a Greek word meaning overturn). There’s the flirting, the first date, the first time, the other times, the question of how many times … Ex-rated comedy, anyone?
There is a palpable hunger in the audience for seeing and hearing the truth about relationships and sex in particular, and here is where bravery and generosity underpin the comedy-of-awkwardness (in some ways recalling Jo Randerson and Thomas LaHood riveting Soft N Hard, despite the different comedic conventions). The revelation of Eli’s ‘routine’ touches hidden chords in every dimension of the quantum equation while their differing versions of exactly how 12 December 2009 played out at The Sign of the Kiwi riffs on a classical trope.
The already highly entertaining show is enriched by several plunges through wormholes in the space-time continuum which conjure up parallel realities, allowing ‘what ifs’ to be explored with even more insight and humanity.
Exes is especially energised by the way Brynley Stent and Eli Matthewson, as writers, have worked with their directors, Hamish Parkinson and Leon Wadham, to bring immediacy to their past. Their particular personal experiences vibrate with universal resonance as, together and apart, Stent and Matthewson recreate it all with refined comic skill.
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