Cavern Club, 22 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

19/02/2017 - 19/02/2017

Garnet Station Café, 85 Garnet Rd, Westmere, Auckland

09/08/2017 - 09/08/2017

The Dark Room, Cnr Pitt and Church Street, Palmerston North

26/07/2017 - 27/07/2017

NZ Fringe Festival 2017 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

Being Raised in the 7th whitest place in New Zealand, Rhian Wood-Hill had very little reference points to a major part of his identity, that of being part Samoan.

A storytelling show that weaves one weekend with his brother and his biological father into why he is the person he is today.

Directed by said brother the tangential approach to storytelling will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire way through.

Cavern Club, 22 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington 
19 Feb 2017, 7pm. 
TICKETS: $10/$7

2017 TOUR

Palmerston North
The Dark Room
8pm, 26 – 27 July

Lucky Bar + Kitchen
9pm, 28 July

The Cabana
8pm, 2 August

Dome Cinema
8pm, 3 August

Shambles Theatre
8pm, 4 August

Village Cinema, The Historic Village 
8pm, 5 August 

Westmere, Auckland
Garnet Station
8.30pm, 9 August

Old Stone Butter Factory
8pm, 10 August

Auckland CBD
The Classic Studio
7.30pm, 11-12 August

Ghost Light Theatre
7.30pm, 15-16 August 

8pm, 17 August 

Playspace @ The Playhouse
8pm, 18-19 August

New Athenaeum Theatre
8pm, 23 August

8pm, 24 August  

Theatre , Solo ,

45 mins

Unvarnished, soul-sharing honesty

Review by Nik Smythe 10th Aug 2017

Somewhere in the middle of his relaxed, open-hearted, wry, self-deprecating series of anecdotes, 26 year old comedian Rhian Wood-Hill confesses, or rather declares, that he really enjoys awkwardness. 

This must be his ideal venue then, given every production I’ve seen at the Garnet Station’s Tiny Theatre carries a greater or lesser degree of awkward tension within its natural charming intimacy.  In a good way, usually, creating a stronger than usual connection for the audience with the players at such close quarters.

It also stands to reason that any young stand-up, in the middle of their prescribed decade or so of hard yards on the circuit, may as well embrace the discomfiture they invariably face and/or create.  Dressed in plain provincial bogan black t-shirt and jeans, Wood-Hill’s apparent trepidation and loosely measured delivery has the distinct air of aspiring observational comedian in training; rough around the edges but showing definite promise.

Certainly, at this session at least, Rhian’s unpretentiously direct approach to relating his personal tale is immediately engaging despite, or perhaps thanks to, the aforementioned shared awkwardness, so that by the end our connection has developed from engaged to fully endeared.  Allegedly due to budget constraints, he begins as his own warm-up comedy act, sharing amusing reflections on familial and romantic relationships before exiting and re-entering for the headline act. 

How I Met My Father is Wood-Hill’s account of his experience meeting his biological Samoan father in adulthood.  Populated by parents, half-siblings, cousins and his stepfather who raised him, from his hometown in Timaru to all round the country and across the ditch, the story’s appeal stems largely from Rhian’s unvarnished, soul-sharing honesty. 

The narrative is book-ended by a transformative scene in which a microcosm of his convoluted family tree is cooped up together in a car, with the journey containing as much poignant grief and serious comment as there is irreverent jocularity and ironic observation. 

All in all it’s a worthwhile tale to witness, and a strong indication that Wood-Hill will be one to watch in future as he and his smart, no-frills patter mature. 


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Impressive guts, flare and skills

Review by John C Ross 27th Jul 2017

Without knowing your biological father, as the man says, you lack the vital remaining pieces you need to complete the jigsaw that helps you to comprehend your own nature. This show explores how Rhian Wood-Hill eventually found him, and the missing pieces.

One out of only four things he had known about his biological dad had been that the guy is Samoan, which is odd since, as Wood-Hill says of himself, he doesn’t look a scrap Samoan. Yet, as we can see, he has acquired a Samoan-style tattoo on one arm, and there’s an ironic story about that. More about the material one mustn’t tell. We’re left at the end with quite a few foreseeable questions not explicitly – but, I guess, implicitly – answered.

In effect this show’s a kind of stand-up, with some good laughs but otherwise offering drama and multiple ironies rather than comedy. As such, it works well, in the actor’s establishing empathy with the audience, and eliciting a variety of responses, and in timing, pace, energy, voice, and sustained interest. In idiom it’s not for delicate ears, but that’s fairly normal for a lot of stand-up. 

The guts, flare and skills it takes to make all this work are impressive and admirable. The show’s first performance here is the premiere for a national tour around fourteen centres. One absolutely wishes Wood-Hill well with it.


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Tends to meander but has a great punchline

Review by Margaret Austin 20th Feb 2017

Rhian Wood wants to share his story. He uses the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle to describe his life – it’s got pieces missing.  

Rhian’s Samoan, but brought up in Napier, “the sixth whitest place in New Zealand.” His father was absent – we’re not told why until later – but was evidently good looking, charming and a criminal, as well as being Samoan! Rhian met this father for the first time recently, and this performance is the result.

Getting personal in front of an audience is often a performer’s early step to something else – a little like a writer’s first book, which is often autobiographical. And personal material makes particular demands on the teller. It has to be shapely, well worded, and inclusive of the audience to avoid being self-indulgent.

This performance piece needs to be worked on with the above in mind. Having a perceptible beginning, middle and ending is vital to achieving momentum and maintaining interest. We had an opening anecdote, but the middle was a bit of a meander.

This reviewer is trained to listen out for ums and ahs, to analyse why they’re there, and to eliminate them. At 100, I stopped counting! They appear when the performer has made a point, or reached the end of an anecdote. The urge to um needs to be replaced by a more palatable pause.

That said, last night’s audience at the Cavern responded heartily and sympathetically to Rhian’s tales of being “disguised as a gifted child”, having straitlaced teachers as parents, and why it’s not a good idea to get a tattoo after getting drunk in the sun.

And he did bring the story full circle by returning to his opening anecdote about his father with a great punchline!  


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