Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

13/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details


James Acaster and Stuart Goldsmith feature as the ‘Best of British’ double at the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival from 13 – 17 May. 

The rising stars of comedy in the U.K. are joining forces to provide the Hannah Playhouse in Wellington with a unique programme of world class live comedy during the annual NZ International Comedy Festival.

Kicking off the third and final week of the Festival on Tuesday 13 May, James Acaster and Stuart Goldsmith will each be performing their new solo shows as a 2 hour double feature including an appropriate ‘drinks break’.

Both Acaster and Goldsmith appeared briefly in Wellington during 2013 Festival as part of the 5 Star Comedy Tour at the Opera House.

James Acaster was a nominee for ‘Best Comedy Show’ in the 2012 and 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Awards. The NZ Herald described him as “The ‘who was that?’ hit of the night” in their review of the Opening Night Gala in Auckland in 2013. He went on to sell out a 6 night run at The Classic Comedy Club in Auckland adding extra shows due to public demand.

(ACASTER) “By the end of the hour you’re totally sucked into his minute, quizzical world and it’s a wonderful world to visit” – Time OUT UK

Stuart Goldsmith is another comedian turning heads on the Pro circuit in the U.K. with a string of successful solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and one of the most highly regarded comedy podcasts called ‘The Comedians Comedian’ which delves in to the background and creative processes of some of the biggest names in the business.

(GOLDSMITH) “A supremely talented stand-up, with a wonderfully funny view of the world …effortless charm” – Time OUT UK

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 to comedyfestival.co.nz

JAMES ACASTER & STUART GOLDSMITH – An International Double Feature plays
Dates: Tue 13 – Sat 17 May, 8:30pm (2 hour show)
Venue: Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Tce
Tickets: $30 – $36
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) // ticketek.co.nz

Personal Festival highlight

Review by Simon Howard 14th May 2014

Returning to Wellington with full-length shows for the first time after being part of the 5 Star International Showcase in 2013, James Acaster and Stuart Goldsmith are two comedians with promising reputations in their native England. Acaster arrives on the back of a sell-out season in Auckland where he was forced to add extra shows, so hopes are high heading into the opening night of this final double feature at the Hannah Playhouse. 

Kicking off proceedings is Stuart Goldsmith. He deals with the mundane nature of everyday life for comedians, namely working in a profession where working at night leaves you prone to days of loneliness. Goldsmith describes his ventures around city centres, sitting in cafes and visiting supermarkets, finding humour in the form of interactions with strangers. This is all pleasing enough, if a little safe in its nature.

The funniest part of the hour comes towards the latter stages, with subjects such as the battle between couples and singles and a dissection of the fish in the sea analogy. His desire for a baby and his relationship with his girlfriend are tight and funny, and he wins the crowd over with his self-deprecating style. 

Goldsmith is easily one of the most likeable comedians in this year’s festival and delivers a winning hour of pleasing stories and witty insights which lead us nicely into the quite markedly different style of James Acaster. 

Strutting out after a short interval and dropping to his knees, James Acaster begins with a hilarious opening section all about loopholes and the joy he gets from discovering them, allied to a jealousy when uninteresting people like renowned skaters Torvill and Dean find them. The clock on his fifty minutes doesn’t start until he arises and starts his stop watch. He goes on to address the back rows of the theatre at the expense of the front, subverting conventional expectations of a stand-up comedian.

This is a theme which runs throughout his set. For those willing to embrace the whimsy of the hour that follows, there is wonder to be found at almost every turn. 

Acaster’s deadpan delivery is a joy to behold; his gangly and whimsical style of comedy so refreshingly unique compared to much of what’s around on the comedy scene right now. He threads together an hour’s show based upon the ‘fact’ that he is secretly [spoiler averted], but proving to be so good at it that he keeps getting booked for more and more comedy gigs. 

Without wanting to spoil the show, this is an hour of increasingly diverse and offbeat observations, many of which you’ll never have even thought of as being potential comic material but which Acaster draws rich and wondrous humour from. Be it pictures you put your face in or the perils of doing the conga, from the opening minute to the last this is as accomplished an hour of stand-up as you could wish to find.

The physicality and facial expressions alone are enough to make you laugh. There are very few sections of the hour which fail to deliver. A section on podcasts perhaps doesn’t quite hit the mark fully, but still has enough humour in it to have the audience laughing from time to time.

This is without question my personal highlight of this year’s festival. Goldsmith is an accomplished and likeable performer and Acaster has people alongside me crying with laughter.


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