Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

05/02/2014 - 08/02/2014

NZ Fringe Festival 2014

Production Details

Alexander Sparrow – writer and comedian – will embody the minds of the world’s five greatest pick up artists and guarantees the complete transformation from even the worst AFC (average frustrated chump), into a seduction guru.

Sparrow says, “These guys have been everywhere and done everyone. Whether you’re a man or a woman after a laugh, or if you’re planning to sit at the back and take notes, you’re ready for action”. A comedian and writer on the Wellington circuit, Sparrow’s show is going to be an orgy of energetic stand up comedy, theatre, and motivational speaking – perfect for a couple wanting a  night out, or the lonely guy wanting a few tips. “Come alone, and leave for a threesome. Or a foursome. I can make that happen.”

Less a seminar and more a writhing pit of sexual energy, this is going to be one hilarious show. Meet the forty year old ‘wallflower’, the one man magic show, the meathead and more. They may not look like experts, but they know what to do.

More about writer/performer, Alexander Sparrow:
Alexander Sparrow is a writer and comedian. He has performed in several shows in the New Zealand Fringe Festival and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. As well as How To Pick Up Women, Sparrow will perform another one man show in the 2014 Fringe called de Sade, about the Marquis de Sade. Alexander also has a solo show coming up in 2014’s International Comedy Festival.

How To Pick Up Women,
a world class seminar on seduction,
will be premiering as part of the 2014 New Zealand Fringe Festival
5-8 February at Fringe Bar, Allen Street.

Theatre , Comedy ,

Sociopathic and self-serving so-called artists revealed

Review by John Smythe 06th Feb 2014

Billed as “a world class seminar on seduction” and a “perfect post Sevens show”, Alexander Sparrow’s multi-character solo performance, How to Pick Up Women, draws multiple shrieks from women in the audience at its Fringe Bar debut. 

Sparrow’s flights of fancy come embodied in five international pick-up artist sexperts, flown in by their supposedly desperately-in-need-of-tutorship host. Not that he has worked much on convincing us that this is how life really is for his on-stage persona.

Suave Johnathan from the UK is a super-successful salesman who coaches us in the art of ‘preselection’.

Pumped and pumping, Enigma from the USA takes the stage as if it were a bucking bronco to convince us his three steps of ‘comfort building’ will win the day – or night – every time.  

From Russia via Greece and unbuttoned to the navel, Komachi oils his way on to floor to elucidate his applied theory of gender stereotype reversal (although I’d have simply called him a gigolo: an appellation that’s almost a century old although the practice goes back to antiquity).   

Introduced as “a magician with women”, Marque from France uses the metaphor of a perfect piece of beef steak in describing how to handle a woman before demonstrating the relationship of dance floor moves to bedroom moves.

While all these characters work quite well – and will doubtless improve with practice – it is Bernard from Germany who is the most intriguing because of the way his awkward and supposedly ingenuous persona proves to be carefully cultivated for maximum benefit, to himself. Just in case we have warmed to any of them, Bernard reminds us what nasty examples of manhood – what hoodwinking wankers – these sociopathic and self-serving so-called artists really are.

Sparrow’s decision to not only change characters off stage but also to return between each character as his MC ‘self’ creates fits and starts in the flow of the show that I feel are unnecessary. We are used to seamless character changes and transitions these days and I’d like to see more ingenious conventions employed to keep the flow going.

More could also be done in physically differentiating the characters, or maybe what’s already there will work better if he can eliminate the random wandering about the Fringe Bar’s tiny stage that all of them resort to.

Two footnotes:

While they only have limited control over the behaviour of late night bar venue patrons, it’s disappointing to hear the bar staff themselves interacting loudly with customers during a live show.

The Fringe Bar (now located in Allen Street off Courtenay Place, by the way) is possibly the only live performance venue in town that has an actual curtain. I think of this as quaintly ‘old school’ until I realise that these days it’s totally alternative.


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