JAMIE BOWEN: Rational Fear Of Concrete

BATS Theatre, Wellington

27/04/2010 - 01/05/2010

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

05/05/2010 - 08/05/2010

NZ International Comedy Festival 2010

Production Details

con·crete  (kn-krt, kng-, knkrt, kng-)
1. Of or relating to an actual, specific thing or instance; particular.
2. Existing in reality or in real experience; perceptible by the senses; real.
3. Formed by the coalescence of separate particles or parts into one mass; solid.
4. Made of hard, strong, conglomerate construction material.
From the mind of one of New Zealand’s top young comics springs to life a show that’s set to be a local gem at the 2010 New Zealand International Comedy Festival. A Rational Fear Of Concrete is a show about the fear of falling over, the fear of solid ideas, the fear of reality and a shining example of why you shouldn’t lock yourself in a room to try and escape your issues.
Having started out with now legendary sketch-trio GARY, Jamie has been a sought-after favourite of the local comedy circuit for nearly a decade now. He’s toured the length of NZ several times over and has also made with the funny in Edinburgh, Singapore, UK and Australia. He was one of the stars of TV3’s A Thousand Apologies in 2008 and has recently finished work on the upcoming TV2 show A Night At The Classic for which he was the co-creator, writer and star.
With 2010 being his 10th year as part of the NZICF, Jamie’s created his own unique style of cathartic comedy. Combining stand-up, sketch and an array of tiny musical instruments that constitute a one-man band, this show will be a true festival event. A Rational Fear Of Concrete is a hilarious celebration of a fragile brain and will leave you feeling like you’ve just seen something special. Special-needs perhaps, but special nonetheless…
Dates: Tues 27 April – Sat 1 May, 8pm
Venue: BATS Theatre, 1 Kent St, City
Tickets: Adults $20 / Conc. $14 / Groups 6+ $16
Bookings: BATS 04 802 4175 or book@bats.co.nz
Show duration: 1 hour 
Dates: Wed 5 – Sat 8 May, 10pm
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, City
Tickets: Adults $20 / Conc. $16 / Groups 6+ $16
Bookings: Ticketek, 0800 TICKETEK, www.ticketek.co.nz

Show duration: 1 hour

Plucky and chuckly

Review by John Smythe 28th Apr 2010

His set, or should I say setting, is suggestive of suburbia: a rug, hat stand and standard lamp, plusa little keyboard set-up that houses his amp and hides his running order. Not much concrete to fear here, except it does denote a concrete decision to settle down, which can be a fearful prospect.

Jamie Bowen’s relaxed and chatty style, punctuated with musical interludes extracted from a ukulele and a sampler pedal, makes for an engaging hour, although sometimes his gabbled delivery in throwaway moments leaves us puzzled. He’s thinking some gags haven’t worked – “Won’t do that one tomorrow” – whereas they simply have’t been heard.

Linking his anecdotes to his titular theme – A Rational Fear of Concrete – is an excellent way of giving form to discursive material and taking leaps into places he might never have otherwise gone – e.g. the town of Concrete in Washington State.

It leads to recollections of his prepubescent skateboard, BMX and rollerblade days and on to the less tangible experiences of falling over socially, en route to facing the aforementioned concrete decision to ground himself.

Musically he proves you can sing a bad news song on a ukulele and that learning to love yourself can be enhanced with a good dose of rhythm, melody and wit.  

Declaring he’s given up smoking earns him what he claims is “the weirdest heckle yet” on opening night. He ends on a high by sharing his delight in his grandfather’s funeral and leaves us – thanks to the sampler – with the sound of our own singing.

I’d call this show plucky and chuckly and well worth a visit.


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