Having 30-odd chilly audience members assembled at the Basement to see two hours of original humour when most shows are just getting out assists greatly with the post-adolescent awkwardness of its protagonists, which is a central feature of the girls’ comedy.
Musician Janine Foster kicks off the proceedings on a Korg midi-keyboard or whatever you call it, with original Numanesque rhythmic synth-pop melodies and powerful R&B vocals. Her third number with its classically soulful blues turnaround literally brought tears to my eyes, and I’m looking forward to hearing more; no recordings as yet but watch this space at http://www.myspace.com/janinefoster
After being nicely warmed up by Foster’s music and allegedly unintentional comedy, Class Comedian graduate and two time winner of the Video Ezy Colouring In Competition Rose Matafeo takes the stage to reprise her popular Festival show Life Lessons I Learned From The 60s (Based on Things I’ve Seen on the Television)
. She puts it to the crowd to choose whether or not she should use the microphone. For an intimate space like the Basement I’m keen on no mic myself, but the popular vote was to use it so … no biggy.
Charmingly clad in odd-fitting argyle opshop woollies, Rose’s cynical demeanour and veteran-like comic delivery belie her short years in comedy. Born the upside down sixties herself , Matafeo’s 45ish minute show analyses the psychology of an era more than twice as old as she is in addressing early 60s sitcoms, beach party movies and talk shows.
She speaks with some reverence of the classic American and British 60s This Is Your Life, and with mocking disdain for the recent Jason-Gunn hosted example, and I wonder if she’s even aware we’ve had local This Is Your Life specials on our screens since the 70s, hosted originally by Bob Parker, now mayor of Christchurch? Again, small matter…
The contrived theme of the piece is intermingled with a few Dean Martin-style ‘warm up jokes’ (in the middle of the show), some formative tales from her own life and a touching mandolin-based paean to her favourite local Samoan screen actor. The most disturbing aspect of Matafeo’s routine is that one so young can be capable of such perfectly pitched sarcasm.
Heidi O’Loughlin’s Life Without Michael – One Year On
is a whole surreal expose of its own… Heidi has arranged a party in her living room here on the Basement stage, to commemorate the life of her favourite pop idol; in fact Friday’s performance took place on the actual first anniversary of the sudden death of the self-proclaimed King of Pop himself!
She is accompanied by a nine-strong band (2 guitars, bass, percussion and chorus of five including Matafeo), clad in aviators and bootleg white t-shirts with crudely drawn vivid marker depicting various aspects of the title star’s colourful life and career – ‘Heal the World’, ‘Don’t Blame it on the Moonlight’, ‘Michael and Lisa-Marie 2getha 4 eva!’ ….
They belt out a selection of MJ hits from across the myriad eras of his 40 plus year career. Personally, I’m from the further-back-you-go-the-better school of Jacko appreciation but I must say the band’s acoustical stylings and strong vocal harmonies considerably improve some of the latter-day hits to my ear.
O’Loughlin has composed an agenda of activities for the party, including party games, dance recitals, Michael Jackson’s abridged life story, Heidi’s own life story in relation to Michael, and an inevitable a rousing sing-along finale. She skirts a fine line between honest praise and wry satire and it’s difficult to pinpoint whether and/or just how much she really is devoted to Pop Music’s most beloved weirdo.
Outside the legendary annual Comedy Festival, whence this return season double feature originated, it’s unusual to encounter this kind of off-the-wall late-night show. Inspired programming in my opinion: some good chuckles are just the thing to warm the heart on a dark midwinter’s night.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer