BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

06/05/2021 - 08/05/2021

NZ International Comedy Festival 2021

Production Details

James Mustapic is venturing inside himself (Magic School Bus style) to analyse every part of his mind and body to find out why he’s just so messed up! Join him for an hour of multi-media comedy as he explores the depths of his deranged brain to figure out what really makes him tick.

He’ll go deep into his Repressed Memories, and explore every part of his cold, dark heart to see what secrets really lie beneath.

Winner – Best Newcomer 2018, NZICF
Billy T Nominee 2019 & 2021, NZICF

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage

4 – 8 May 2021
Tues – Thu $21
Fri & Sat $24
The Difference $40

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Check out the full line up in the 2021 NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo from 4 – 23 May.

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

50 mins

Plenty of clever and amusing material

Review by John Smythe 06th May 2021

BATS’ ‘black box’ Random stage is bare but for a standing mic and a laptop. James Mustapic’s second night audience dutifully ‘makes some noise’ to welcome him on.

Claiming middle aged women are his “target demo”, he riffs on how straight people try to make sense of gay male sex, and where he stands on “Science v Jesus” (although I’m not sure anyone claims Jesus was ‘The Creator’ because that would ignore centuries of life-on-Earth, including everything covered in the Old Testament, before he was even born).

His warm-up successfully achieved, James suddenly gets the Health Warning that establishes the premise for “venturing inside himself (Magic School Bus style) to analyse every part of his mind and body to find out why he’s just so messed up!” as his publicity puts it. Wittily presented images and video clips accompany and illustrate the rest of the how.

Mustapic’s style is gentle and slightly diffident, using what I take to be a faux timidity (he plays on being weak-kneed at one point) to offset drops of bitchy humour – which his audience loves! Clips of psychic medium Sue Nicholson opining on how to beat Covid are risible and deserve our laughter. Perhaps the Amazon Surf Store in Dunedin is worthy of ridicule too – or is it his antipathy to certain macho items of clothing? As for Curling …  

As a master of lilt, tone and timing, Mustapic has the comedian’s capacity to provoke laughter even when we’re not sure why it’s funny. A rather odd photo of Jacinda Ardern recurs in different contexts and of course she’s fair game. When he mentions “Jenner” and everyone laughs I assume he’s referring to one of the Kardashian clan – Caitlyn perhaps? – but it turns out to be his mother, Janet, ‘widowed’ to Curling, who ‘pops in’ via video a few times with helpful advice.

Making targets of old people, like his nanna, and of his father, don’t really do it for me as an objective observer, even though he’d indicated ‘absent Dad issues’ are part of “why he’s just so messed up”. Such humour leads me to ponder how easily a person with a microphone can cause a captive audience to ‘gang up’ without a second thought.

But there’s plenty of clever and amusing material to me exhumed from his “repressed memories”, from playing on the nostalgia of his demographic – e.g. with Kiwi Kids school songs – to sharing his fear of becoming “a crazy cat lady”. And despite his earlier prognosis, (spoiler alert?) he survives to perform for the rest of the week. 


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