Irene Pink in Metamorphosis

Polson Higgs Comedy Club, XII Below Bar, Dunedin

18/03/2010 - 21/03/2010

Dunedin Fringe 2010

Production Details


It’s been a long time between shows for Irene and the intervening years have seen her go through a number of significant life altering changes. Irene has been in Metamorphis. Losing 30kgs in weight and deciding to become a born again fitness fanatic has seen the emergence of a smaller but even more cynical Irene.

“Sure it’s been good to lose the weight but I have to say I’ve never been more miserable. They were my best 30 kgs…” 

After 5 years living in London Irene was in debt, with a depressed husband and a nasty case of stage fright. Something had to change. Having to admit that her C+ approach to life had netted her C+ results she decided to move back to New Zealand and rebuild her chrysalis. Metamorphosis is Irene’s first solo stand up show since she was nominated for the Billy T Award in 2001.

As a guest on TV3’s 7 Days and on Radio New Zealand National’s “The Week That Was”, Irene is known for her intelligent humour and insights. Strongly opinionated from her first letter to the editor at age 12 (Dear Sir, Why is the world so sexist?) Irene has had a good long talk with herself and some of those opinions have changed. Chances are she’ll change her mind during the show and with a little bit of luck; she’ll change a few other minds in the process.

Seen locally on TV3’s AotearoHA and TV2’s Comedy Christmas Gala alongside Comedy Central’s Bits, Irene has been a finalist for the NZ Comedy Guild Best Female every year since returning from the UK in 2005. With a new outlook and a new attitude for 2010, perhaps this will be her year.

Irene has been a regular part of the New Zealand Comedy Festival’s “Divas” and has toured the country with The Lady Bunch. The beginning of 2010 has her as part of the comedy show during the World Buskers Festival and performing Metamorphosis at the Dunedin Fringe Festival.

With this as the premier of this new show, there will undoubtable be changes; it’s in Irene’s nature. She’s simply in a constant state of flux and as an accomplished comic there’s little doubt that Metamorphosis will be the revealing and hilarious result.

*Proud purveyors of Fine Comedy, keeping it Notorious since 9.15am

Dunedin Fringe 
Dates: Thursday 18 – Sunday 21 March, 7.30pm
Venue: Polson Higgs Comedy Club, XII Below Bar
Tickets: Adults $18, Conc. & Groups 10+ $14
Bookings: Ticket Direct, 03 477-8597, 

Strong start rambles into uneven performance

Review by Sharon Matthews 22nd Mar 2010

We were a small but select audience for Metamorphosis on the first night of the Dunedin Fringe Festival. We were there prepared to “bare” witness (a wonderfully bad pun which I will admit set up in my mind certain expectations for the show) to the changes in Irene Pink’s life since 2005.

Pink is an experienced comic performer, she was nominated for the Billy T Award in 2001,has toured with The Comedy Festival Divas and The Lady Bunch, and appeared regularly on Radio New Zealand’s “The Week that Was.” This is, however, her first solo stand-up show since 2001.

The show started strongly with Pink skilfully using our sparse numbers to create a surprisingly cosy atmosphere simply by introducing the audience to each other. Some of this audience may have felt a tad exposed, particularly Paul, who made the mistake of revealing that he was a policeman, not realizing obviously that Pink would then use the shock value of his occupation as a running theme for the rest of the show.

Paul’s job gave Pink an immediate springboard to reveal her drug addiction, a presumably life-changing experience dealt with in an almost off-hand manner, and opened up the floor to audience participation in a discussion about the lack of illegal drugs in Dunedin, the consensus being that this was obviously Paul’s fault.

I feel that I am reviewing Paul’s performance, as well as other audience members such as Rory and Isaac, and I applaud Pink’s obvious confidence in her own comic abilities which allowed the show to include this. I was impressed at how quickly Pink’s low-key delivery drew us into an intimate relationship. Within minutes we had all (metaphorically) kicked off our shoes, and settled down for a girly night of gentle mockery of the males in the front seats.

The Metamorphosis in the title refers to Pink’s 30 kilo weight-loss. This life-altering experience has given Pink ample (sorry!) material to comically exploit. The publicity material suggested we bring a towel along, however the intimate revelations thus implied never eventuated.

Pink’s comic style could be described as cynical and self-depreciating, mixed with some genuinely joyously warped opinions. Among my favourites is her strongly expressed conviction that instead of respecting pigs raised for consumption, and pampering them by feeding them banana smoothies, it would be kinder to give them miserable lives so they are happy to die. Yes Irene, you may be unique in holding that view!

Another highlight is her explanation of the importance of cheekbones to her Polynesian version of heroin chic, as demonstrated by microphone. Later, she uses her skilfully created connection with her audience to share with us the sad tale of how she was banned from weight-watchers, which is something she wouldn’t talk about if we weren’t such great mates now.

This segues into the repetition of her slightly frightening complaint that being on a diet makes her feel mildly hungry all the time, which she cooed as she gazed thoughtfully at Rory and Isaac in the front row.

But after her strong opening, Pink seemed to lose her focus as she led us through a series of funny but rambling and slightly unconnected stories about her experiences with the discount adult shop, The Pleasure Chest (I loved her glee at this appalling pun), the perilous combination of long hair and exercise machines, her battles with obesity, and the likelihood that men who work out obsessively on their bottoms are not doing this for women.

Post-show a wonderful fringe worker came up to check that I had enjoyed myself, and to explain that the small numbers for that show were atypical. I understand this, and wouldn’t dream of commenting on the size of the audience as indicating any deficiencies on the part of the performer. But to misquote that famous saying, it’s not the SIZE of the audience that matters; it’s how you work it.

At one stage Pink joked that she doesn’t like pandas because she is annoyed by any animal that is too lazy to adapt. However, perhaps the gorgeous, but ummm, ‘cuddly’ panda, could serve as a symbol for this performance. I felt that Pink didn’t consistently adapt her show to fit the numbers, and sometimes almost seemed uncomfortable on stage, looking frequently at her watch and checking her notes. I almost wanted to tell her that if we were boring as an audience, buy us a drink and a lobster, say goodnight, and we can all go home.

I have seen Pink perform before, and I laughed so hard then that I embarrassed myself publicly (don’t ask). I was disappointed therefore by unevenness of this particular performance, because I KNOW that Pink is an incisive and cynical observer of modern life.

However, on the positive side, Pink’s skilful creation of rapport among the audience members meant that Chris and I had a pleasant chat afterwards to Paul and his wife while waiting for Jeremy Elwood’s show to start.  
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