The Elliot Stables, 39 Elliot St, City, Auckland

12/05/2010 - 15/05/2010

NZ International Comedy Festival 2010

Production Details

Four Heads are better than one! 
A multi-national comedy showcase tornado is heading to the Elliot Stables on May 12-15. Featuring 4 fine acts from NZ, UK and India, Four Heads will bring gale force comedy to you from almost all four corners of the earth.
Chris Cook, recently nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2009 New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards, ticks the local box and is the funniest comedian from Titirangi.
“We thought Chris was proper funny aye!” – Titirangi Chronicle
Ferg, hailing from the rainiest place in England, a hugely under-inflated sense of self-worth and innate suspicion of insects’ intentions are the only things keeping Ferg warm at night.  Covers topics like a large, slow moving weather system.  A warm front with damp spells, obviously.
"The best thing to come out of Carlisle since Carr’s Table Water Biscuits" – The Ultimate Warrior
Stella Graham, a Stellar performer, nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2009 New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards. Stella is from England and leaves no comedy stone unturned with intimate knowledge of New Zealand and gags to keep you laughing days later.
“She sounds nice, is she a beer?” – Burundi Times
Sanjay Patel, once went under the online handle of 54NJ4Y and went in the natural direction from the world of online gaming to the world of stand up comedy. Is so enriched in New Zealand culture, despite appearances, when he speaks you won’t smell uranium on his breath. 
"When he talked I’m pretty sure I could smell a whiff of some metallic chemical element" – The Happy Hippo Post
Four Heads is the show people will talk about in years to come. “Remember when we saw them in Four Heads? Shame I can’t afford to see them at the Vector Arena.”
They kindly reduced their ticket prices to include people from all walks of life. Be sure to grab tickets early for the sensational comedy showcase that is, Four Heads.

Dates: Wed 12 – Sat 15 May, 10pm
The Elliot Stables, 39 Elliot St, City
Tickets: Adults $15 / Conc. $12 / Groups 4+ $12
Bookings: Ticketek, 0800 TICKETEK,
Show Duration: 1 hour  


Hit-and-miss results

Review by Nik Smythe 14th May 2010

Four fledgling comics, two Kiwi, two British, share an hour in a random order as determined by the onstage spinning selector wheel. 

First up on Thursday night is Sanjay Patel, a local lad of “Indian human” descent.  His grimacing demeanour is at first jarringly stiff as he rambles about stereotypes he’s always confronting, like if he walked around a hospital’s corridors people would assume he’s a doctor.  Then he starts talking like one, spouting mathematics, biology and geometrical functions in the course of discussing topical issues ranging from cricket to swinger parties. 

Ultimately Patel’s relentless patter, bordering on monotone, has a curiously endearing quality that makes him (for me) the most unique and interesting character of the night.

Spin no. 2 lands on Ferg: long hair, beard and vintage duds create a look he calls ‘Jesus on Life on Mars’.  In his giveaway North-England accent, the kind tailor-made for standup, he identifies his home town as Carlisle, which makes me think of Robert Carlyle who played Begbie in Trainspotting, which seems appropriate given the way Ferg describes his allegedly wholly unpleasant hometown. 

He covers a lot of ground in his 15 minutes – Avatar, smoking, customs cavity searches, animal testing on racist sheep, and still finds the time to practice his Kiwi accent on us and list his favourite phobias.

3rd up, 2nd local Chris Cook.  With fudged-up hair and a wry grin borrowed from Paul Ego, he begins with the suggestion we don’t set our expectations too high.  He then sets out to prove the soundness of this advice by apologetically meandering through a selection of vaguely humorous gags the best of which involve fathering an infant and eavesdropping. 

Rounding off the night, Brit # 2 and sole female Stella Graham, a half Sri Lankan lass from Coventry, recently migrated. Like Ferg, something about her accent has us ready to laugh to laugh before she even cracks a joke but she still struggles as much as the others to generate any real rapport with the reticent crowd. 

She draws enough chuckles however, and her observations on texting emoticons and the pitfalls of Cockney rhyming slang are well pitched with requisite wit.

This is the only second-night performance I’ve reviewed this festival, and it certainly is a different beast particularly for a rookie ensemble – smaller crowd, fewer comps, altogether harder to please. 

The Four Heads manage to keep their chins up throughout as, with rather diverse personalities, they test out their developing material with hit-and-miss results. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


nik smythe May 19th, 2010

Thanks for commenting;  I'm glad that they got a good sized crowd and that ones who struggled on the difficult second night had their chance to shine.  This is indeed the nature of the standup beast, particularly with late-night newcomer ensemble shows like this, and your comment nicely illustrates this fact.

Catherine Laurie May 17th, 2010

 I cannot comment on the night you went to, but it sounded like a small audience. I went on the Friday night which was packed. This obviously made a difference because I thought it was a terrific show! I wasn't alone because everyone around seemed to have a great time as well.

I thought that all the performers did a great job, but Chris Cook stole the show in my opinion. The performance that we saw doesn't remotely sound like the one you saw because this guy had the audience by a string! He was last on and capped off a great night.

I agree with your comments about the guy from Carlisle. His Avatar material was brilliant.

Sure it wasn't perfect, but they are 4 rookie comedians, and it was an affordable show. Lot's of variety, and we had a great time.

Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council