JASON BYRNE IN PEOPLE’S PUPPETEER
01/05/2012 - 05/05/2012
“A comedy God” – Mirror.co.uk
Irish comedian Jason Byrne will bring the kind of madness that has made him famous to New Zealand for the first time ever when he performs at this year’s New Zealand Comedy Festival in May.
Byrne’s brand new show, People’s Puppeteer, promises to be an anarchy-packed hour of acrobatic proportions. Without doubt the definitive clown of comedy, Byrne is renowned for pushing his riotous shows and infamous audience participation to the edge with his inspired and original brand of high-energy intelligent lunacy.
It is no surprise that Byrne is often touted the funniest and most successful solo act in the history of the esteemed Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where he has performed for the past 14 years, and continues to be one of the Festival’s top sellers year after year.
Byrne’s television credits are extensive. In the UK, he has appeared on The Graham Norton Show (BBC1), as well as Live at the Apollo (BBC1). In Australia, he is a regular on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival televised galas, where his brand of unique humour translates instantly. The Jason Byrne Show which airs on BBC Radio 2, won the Sony Gold Radio Award for Best Comedy in 2011. He has released two live DVDs – Jason Byrne – Out Of The Box and The Byrne Identity – and continues to tour extensively worldwide.
Jason Byrne’s shows are a must-see – miss it at your peril.
“Jaw achingly funny – there is no better way to describe it.” êêêêê Sunday Herald Sun
“Byrne is at his best when his dial is cranked to 10.” êêêê The Age
As part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2012
JASON BYRNE IN PEOPLE’S PUPPETEER
Dates: Tue 1 – Sat 5 May, 9pm
Venue: Rangatira at Q, 305 Queen Street, Auckland
Tickets: Adults $32.00/ Conc. $27.50/ Group 8+ $27.50
Bookings: 09 309 9771 www.qtheatre.co.nz
Duration: 1 hour
For a full line up of performances, booking details & more information, visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz
Review by Nik Smythe 02nd May 2012
40 years old, with diminished control of bodily functions to prove it as he’s not ashamed to tell you himself, Irishman Jason Byrne’s Aotearoa debut is a frenetic, hilarious shambles.
A recorded high-energy introduction begins with the most ominously massive music ever written, Strauss’s ‘Also Spracht Zarathustra’, as the strapping ginger protagonist appears, strung marionette-style to large sticks manipulated by giant puppet hands controlled from offstage, which he casts off Pinocchio-like to launch into a lusty Irish dance to a pop-rock power-jig. This carries on until just after I begin to wonder if this is going to be the whole show.
Sweating and out of breath Byrne hits the ground raving, a few light exclamations of excited dismay foreboding the more extreme levels of incredulity to come. His ornate black and red jacket and imposing frame, slightly stooped as if ready to brawl at the bat of an eye, gives the impression of a very tall gothic leprechaun.
Explaining it’s his first time in New Zealand, Jason describes some of his own first impressions with a gush of bewilderment. He learns about Kiwi culture on the hop by expertly carousing with audience members in the first couple of rows, such as the brazen lass who asks for some of his drink (allegedly another career first), or the fellow Irishman who’s pants and footwear get a minute of laughter simply out of Byrne’s reaction to them.
He claims he’s trying to cram four shows into an hour, but by this stage his selected audience scapegoats are doing half the show for him. Given the creatively technical intro, I expected more sophisticated sorts of games and tricks, but the most high-tech it gets its when he finally gets around to his first showpiece, playing the xylophone classic ‘Popcorn’ with the courageous assistance of three tall lads, whose own remarks – e.g. that one plans to get his name in the bible – returns spades of comedy fodder for the remainder of the show.
By the end of an extended hour of continual mirth there’s a sense that, if this is four shows rolled into one, we must have missed a fair chunk of the planned activities to make way for Byrne’s protracted eruptions of masterful incredulity. Or perhaps that’s the ultimate trick, conjuring the illusion that there was meant to be more than this, we just ran out of time.
The resultant feeling of the crowd is not that we were ripped off though; more like we’ve had a good laugh and witnessed a genuinely unique performance that won’t be the same tomorrow night or any other.
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