Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

26/04/2014 - 03/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

It’s been a fair few sips between drinks for the team behind internationally acclaimed My Brother & I are Pornstars, but 2014 sees the pairing of Jackie van Beek and Jonny Brugh return on the 25, 26 and 29 April –3 May with FLASHDUNCE – as part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival.

“…so very, very wrong, but very, very funny. You have been warned” – The Age, Melbourne April, 2006

It seems that sketch comedy in New Zealand may have died out some years ago, but across the rest of the world the “discipline” (if you can call it that) is currently thriving once again. The FLASHDUNCE team think that, given how metropolitan Auckland (thinks it) is, that the form is about due a triumphant comeback! 

Directed by one of New Zealand’s comedic masterminds, Jesse Griffin (7 Days, Wilson Dixon), van Beek and Brugh are excited with their brand new creation; littered with an enormous number of curious characters from a diverse range of worlds. Slightly challenging on The Basement Theatre’s low ceilinged small stage, but nothing is impossible for this duo. 

Jackie grew up in Wellington devising countless comedy shows as she haphazardly completed a degree in linguistics. Having moved to Melbourne in 2006, van Beek has written and directed six short films that have played in many international festivals including Berlin, London, Melbourne and New Zealand and has picked up numerous awards in Australasia – including SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year 2013. 

Jonny has been performing his unique brand of comic story-telling for 20 years – beginning with absurdist tragic-comic duo Sugar & Spice and winning critical acclaim throughout New Zealand and Australia including The Chapman Tripp Award for best Comic Performance in 1996 and the Billy T Award in 1998. Jonny is perhaps most recognized recently, however, for his role as Carl in the feature film How To Meet Girls From A Distance

Jackie and Jonny both star in Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement’s new vampire comedy, What We Do In The Shadows, which recently premiered to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and went out to wow audiences at the Berlin Film Festival. Jonny plays the core cast role of Deacon, a young 107 year old vampire that flats with his vampire friends in Wellington. Jackie plays Deacon’s familiar taking care of all domestic daytime duties for the vampires slept. 

FLASHDUNCE will be a show that truly transports audiences to different times and places – and with a colorful array of costumes and props this sketch comedy show promising to be a visually exciting piece of theatre.

Dates: 25 – 26 April and 29 April – 3 May, 8:30pm
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD 
Tickets: $20 – $25 
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) or ticketek.co.nz  

As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May.  

For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head tocomedyfestival.co.nz

Theatre , Sketch , Comedy ,

Sketch comedy concocted from concept, character and comedic interplay

Review by Nik Smythe 26th Apr 2014

Jonny Brugh and Jackie van Beek take their consummate absurdist comedic skills back to basics with an hour of conceptual sketches the likes of which it occurs to me aren’t really seen on the circuit so much these days.  There’s so much stand-up and some degree of more long-form character based works, but the old random skit-fest mash-up styles epitomised by Brugh’s own Sugar and Spice shows or van Beek’s Hellcat and Jeeks seem largely, and sadly I think, to have gone by the wayside.

I’m not certain whether their guff’s promise to be ‘visually exciting’ with ‘a colourful array of costumes and props’ is intended ironically, or if it just didn’t pan out as planned after submitting the blurb … Jackie certainly has a few nice frocks and a fairly decent basketball outfit, and Jon’s ‘muscle beach’ singlet and Club Med shorts are eyecatching in their own way I suppose. 

Sure, and there are a couple of intriguingly non-sequitur props hanging in the grid too: twittering budgies, classic spherical bomb with a wick poking out … Overall, though, the visuals are really not the primary source of excitement. That I would mainly attribute to the clearly seasoned proficiency of the performing duo, and wondering what the heck those crazy old kids will come up with next. 

The set-ups are original amusing enough: incompetent teaching staff explain a National-Standards English exam they don’t really understand themselves to their pupils; a man is put out that the Hire-a-Hubby he’s hired is a woman; a vet retches violently at the sight of animal blood, and so on.  The tragic-comic episodic tale of two Eastern European peasants dragging their horse through the barren frozen wasteland is particularly peculiar. 

The directions the skits take are generally unpredictable and the audience’s laughter is genuine and consistent thanks to the accomplished artistry of the duo’s shtick.  A few ‘conclusions’ seem a bit forced, which could be regarded as another sort of sketch comedy tradition but I’d like to think they’ll get a bit more polished as they go.  Not too polished though; the pseudo-anarchic buffoonery type aesthetic is part of their intrinsic charm. 

As such it’s a treat to observe people who really know what they’re doing (or if not, at least how to do it) concoct their distinctive recipe from the essential ingredients of concept, character and comedic interplay.


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