Jerome Chandrahasen in BACKPACKERS' GUIDE

BATS Theatre, Wellington

17/05/2006 - 20/05/2006

ODDFELLOWS Comedy Festival

Production Details

May 2005 – Jerome begins a journey across the continent, to explore the Kiwi backpacking tradition and gain insights into the lives of the ordinary European in an attempt at cross cultural unity.
May 2006 – Jerome begins to understand why it didn’t work.
Uncover the answers to the Big Questions in the essential backpackers’ guide.

After his sell out success with Civilized in the 2005 ODDFELLOWS Comedy Festival, Jerome returns as an ODDFELLOWS Billy T Nominee with his first solo performance Backpackers’ Guide. In an hour show he will highlight his experiences from a Madrid bullfighting ring to confusing local Hungarians in an exploration of cultural misunderstanding. He’ll be sharing his tips for surviving suspicious hostels, rogue pickpockets and the French.

Beginning his stand up career with a 5 minute open mic spot in 2003, Jerome rapidly established himself as a key performer in the New Zealand comedy scene, going on to win the 2004 National Raw Comedy Quest, the premier amateur comedy award. With his “Killer one liners” he was voted Best Newcomer at the 2005 ODDFELLOWS NZ International Comedy Festival Awards.

Theatre , Comedy , Solo ,

approx 1hr

Traveller hasn't quite arrived

Review by John Smythe 18th May 2006

On opening night Jerome Chandrahasen won his strongest response from the way he handled a couple of memory lapses and technical cock-ups. He has an amiable way of being with his audiences that is quietly engaging.

The short film – entitled A Piece of Cake – that starts off his ‘cultural misadventure’ is also a winner, with a young boy stealing the limelight as well as the said piece of cake.

The live show comprises three alternating strands. The straight chat to the audience stuff is mostly incidental tales of Jerome’s big OE to Europe, with a couple of local anecdotes thrown in (to make up the time, I suppose). He also plays out his side of a progressively deteriorating travel-buddy relationship that started, I think, with casual chat in a youth hostel.

One shortcoming is that Jerome’s quietly effective delivery tends not to rise over the laughter he generates so vital words and phrases are easily lost. Add speed and a bowed head when he’s reading from his diary, poetry and the bible (Job 15:22 to be exact) and intelligibility becomes a real casualty.

The third dimension is screen images, notably of the current pope and the late Jean Paul II, as he riffs on their contrasting qualities. Linguistic determinism also gets a mention. He’s no ‘dumb-arse’, this boy.

‘Has potential’ would be my overall verdict. More than a first night, much of it felt like a first draft. Most of the set-ups were very engaging but to many fell short on the payoff department. The smile fades instead of erupting into laughter.

Is it fair to want to leave a comedy show buzzing, or should we simply appreciate that the few that do that for us are very special indeed.


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