23/05/2006 - 27/05/2006
After 2 years in North America and the UK , New Zealand’s ‘dark knight’ of stand-up returns to NZ with his wits sharpened to a razor’s edge.
Sometimes angry, sometimes crazy but always funny, Crellin’s sharp, dark and subversive humour is tempered with plenty of comedic mischief and charm.
Theatre , Comedy , Solo ,
A scream that has to get out
Review by John Smythe 25th May 2006
Last week I was forming the impression that a number of acts on the Comedy Festival were space-fillers. The comedians had booked their spots then been obliged to slog away at coming up with something to do in it. Theor worl had no better reason for being.
Not so Benjamin Crellin, back from the UK with his new show GAZ4THEMASSEZ. At last we have a performer with a scream inside him that has to get out. His Dark Knight from Mordor (London)-cum-Hobbit from the Shire (Paekakariki) is driven by a burning need to question, challenge and try to make sense of the world as he sees it.
Are we an intelligent species? How come the King of War (Bush) purports to align with the Prince of Peace (Jesus)? Why are British churches so dark and scary? Who is driving the culture of fear? The Media? And/or is everything filtered through advertising companies? What and where are the new cathedrals of today? Who invented the oxymoronic "smart weapon" …?
I’m not giving the show away by touching on these topics – which may or may not arise in the show you see – because it’s the way Crellin addresses them that makes him a world-class performer. With a mic he could take on an Opera House audience but he opts instead for the intimacy of Bats without amplification.
Which brings me to my only gripe: while his delivery is engagingly non-haranguing, his eye-line is almost entirely to the first two rows. A masterly display of look-down stand-up. Those of us further back feel less included than we should.
His observations of British, American, Kiwi, Christian and Muslim cultures and values ensures there is plenty for us to chew on between laughs and after this thoroughly engaging show.
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