Jamie Bowen in Munfred Bernstein’s Cabinet of Wonder

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

10/05/2011 - 14/05/2011

BATS Theatre, Wellington

03/05/2011 - 07/05/2011

NZ International Comedy Festival 2011

Production Details

A rambunctious and ramshackle opus from a man unhinged… 

Munfred Bernstein’s Cabinet of Wonder is a place to celebrate the mystery of the world and the oddities of those who inhabit it. It’s a chance to see that there’s still magic to be discovered, even if it’s only in your mind. It’s an hilarious hour of fantastical stories, characters, scientific untruths and music that at any moment could completely fall apart from sheer enthusiasm alone. You’ll witness a treasure trove of tales both loose and wild from a man slightly bent; all accompanied by music from instruments that sound like they should be put out of their misery. It’s more than just stand‐up… It’s a fast‐paced, fun and frenetic one‐man travelling sideshow.

Devised under the supervision of Ben Crowder (Head, Bad Jelly The Witch) and directed by Jesse Griffin (Wilson Dixon, The 4 Noels), this new and innovative work combines all of Jamie’s talents to make for a truly unique and entertaining hour of comedy. It’s a touch of vaudeville, cabaret, circus, music hall and soapbox oratory; all mixed in together with good old‐fashioned story telling. Marvel as Munfred pulls from his Cabinet of Wonder a collection of curios carefully collated to instil a sense of curiosity. Each object leads us into another story of amazement and intrigue, which is set to a soundtrack played by Munfred before your very eyes. So take a look inside the Cabinet of Wonder. You’ve got nothing to loose; except your wallet and keys.

Jamie has established himself as one of the local comedic talents to watch. He has over a decade of performing under his belt and in that time has been all over New Zealand, not to mention Edinburgh, London, Singapore and Australia. He was the co‐creator and writer for TVNZ’s cult hit A Night At The Classic, has appeared on TV3’s AotearoHa and works both on‐screen and behind the scenes at hit show 7 Days. 2011 marks his 11th year at the NZICF and instead of showing signs of slowing down or being a one‐trickpony, Jamie has again pushed the creative boundaries to bring you a hugely entertaining hour of something that’s hopefully a little bit different and definitely a little bit wonderful. 

“Honestly one of New Zealand’s greatest stand ups… And one of our best entertainers” – tvnz.co.nz

“… A delectable taste for rousing excitement, he is a live wire and hugely talented. A stand

out local comedian; the man is a star ready to be discovered” – coupdemain.co.nz

Dates: 3rd May – 7th May, 9:30pm
Venue: BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, CBD
Tickets: Adults $20 / Conc. $14 / Groups 6+ $14
Bookings: (04) 802 4175 or book@bats.co.nz

Dates: 10th May – 14th May, 7pm
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, City 
Tickets: Adults $20 / Conc. $15 / Groups 6+ $15
Bookings: 0800TICKETEK (842 5385) or www.ticketek.co.nz

Basement Fest 2011
18 – 22 October, 7pm 
All tickets $20

Website: www.jamiebowen.com  


Very engaging in its own strange way

Review by John Smythe 04th May 2011

Billed as “a rambunctious and ramshackle opus from a man unhinged”, Munfred Bernstein’s Cabinet of Wonder delivers a whimsical hour of idiosyncratic humour that entertains by transporting us from our ordinary world into his parallel universe and raising some questions about who exactly got where and why.

The titular cabinet is a plain old wardrobe (which he calls a tallboy), from which he appears and disappears, and through which he may or may not have travelled to exotic climes. As such it rates as a distant relative to the C S Lewis one (which gave access to a Lion and Witch) and Dr Who’s TARDIS, albeit more earthbound and anti-heroic.

It has passed down through generations, apparently, and his ‘adventures’ may or may not have been provoked by having an alcoholic father given to inflammatory outbursts  who was nevertheless able to answer conclusively the abiding question, “how long is a piece of string?”.

Perhaps the paternal pronouncement that “if you can dream it you can be it” is the key to what has followed. And what was that about ‘the naughty cave’?

Jamie Bowen manifests an elusive character whose engaging befuddlement taps on the window of pathos more than once. Eschewing self pity, but nabbing little nips of something stirring from strategically placed shot glasses, he has flashes of generosity, like bestowing a gift on an audience member that makes them an instant member of an exclusive global club.

He moves from the big questions, like “why are we here?”, to singing about bananas. He dips into a pile of letters than have finally caught up with his ever-itinerant self. He shows us mementos kept in his cabinet and in the little drawers therein … And thereby hangs a tale or five.

There’s the man who kept missing his wife, the unwelcome tenant now kept in a jar, an Australian wise man (I kid you not) … An elusive story about a clairvoyant is assisted by an auto harp and the soul of an old blues musician. We share the dilemma of a man who is the last to speak a particular language …  

You will have to see it to reach your own conclusions about where truth lies, sits or stands. And I recommend you do. In its own strange way Munfred Bernstein’s Cabinet of Wonder is very engaging. 
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