BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

25/02/2014 - 28/02/2014

NZ Fringe Festival 2014

Production Details

A comedy . . . about suicide. Don’t miss this absurdly funny yet sad story of working the graveyard shift on a suicide-prevention hotline in New York.

Written and performed by Brian Finkelstein (The Ellen Show, The Moth) “Engaging, hilarious and . . .  disturbing” TimOut New York

BATS Theatre, Cnr Cuba & Dixon Streets, Wellington CBD 
9.30pm, 25-28 Feb (50mins)
BOOKINGS: / TICKETS: $18 / 14 / 12

Theatre , Comedy ,


Beyond open, beyond moving and not to be missed

Review by Deborah Eve Rea 26th Feb 2014

Stop reading this review. Go book a ticket for First Day Off in a Long Time.  

Brian Finkelstein, from the USA, brings us a tale of working at the “Humanitarian Suicide Hotline” with tangents on philosophy, love and how one survives while being “aggressively passive-aggressive”.  He is a master of conversational storytelling.  His delivery is sparky yet charmingly conversational in that New York rhythm that Mamet made us fall in love with.

First Day Off in a Long Time isboth intricately refined and profoundly fresh. Finklestein’s deep connection to text transcends “performance” to beautiful, subtle nuance of remembrance and reflection.  He allows us to zoom in from our theatre seats and then transports us to another time and place simply by leaning forward in his seat. Magic. 

The work is haunted by Charles Bukowski, who rests in the text, and Spalding Gray, in its approach and very much in its heart.  

Throughout First Day Off in a Long Time, Finklestein teases and jokes with us. In touching moments, he holds us safely in silence, letting us breathe in his poignancy. Finklestein remains sitting at a table with a microphone for the duration of his exchange. All he has is honesty and that is all he needs. 

This incredible audience connection is aided by Carter Edwards’ lightening design (operated by Tim Goodacre). Slipping through a more open ‘house’ state to become both shadowy and focused, it invokes a lick of film noir and leaves me with goosebumps. 

First Day Off in a Long Time is beyond open, beyond moving and not to be missed. If this show doesn’t sell-out, I may never forgive you, Wellington.


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