Kevin: The Musical

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

10/05/2011 - 14/05/2011

BATS Theatre, Wellington

17/05/2011 - 21/05/2011

Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

22/06/2012 - 23/06/2012

NZ International Comedy Festival 2011

FUEL Festival 2012

Production Details


The small New Zealand town of Kevin is all a flutter with the prospect of getting it’s first traffic light. But what sort of scandal and intrigue lie behind the placid exterior of this sleepy town? This is a quintessentially New Zealand story which plays on our nostalgic view of small towns throughout the country.

Steve Wrigley stars in this one-man all-singing all-dancing all-mania musical spectacular. And we don’t use the word spectacular lightly. With a full set and score written by the incomparable Mark Dennison, this will be the definition of a Kiwi battler rising up against the odds to make this masterpiece. 

The show has been assisted by the NZ Comedy Trust’s Creative Comedy Initiative, a programme intended to assist works which break the mold and push the boundaries. This has taken the form of financial assistance and mentoring.

Steve himself has been planning Kevin: The Musical in his manic head for a long time now and he is so excited to see this dream come to fruition. This show is a new direction after his series of three Comedy Festival shows which focused on stories from his life and his development through the years. The first of these, First Time, won Steve the Billy T Award and the second and third and fourth saw him nominated for the prestigious Fred Award for comedic excellence.

Friends, colleagues and those who have seen Steve perform either live or on his many TV appearances for Comedy Galas to 7Days, will attest to his absolute enthusiasm and energy he brings to his critically acclaimed performances:
“Wrigley is such a superb story teller that you assume he must have spent weeks meticulously planning every sentence of his routine.” – Satellite

Kevin: The Musical will without doubt go down as one of his most impressive and funniest to date 

Dates: 10 – 14 May 2011, 8.30pm
Venue: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE
Tickets: Adults $28, Conc. $25
Bookings: 0800 BUY TICKETS or  

Dates: 17 – 21 May 2011, 6.30pm
Venue: BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce
Tickets: Adults $20, Conc. $14
Bookings:  |  04 802 4175  




After blowing away audiences at the 2011 & 2012 Comedy Festivals, the critically acclaimed KEVIN: The Musical makes it’s way to Hamilton.

“Laugh with child like abandon” – NZ Herald

With an elaborate set and musical score written by Mark Dennison, KEVIN: The Musical takes us to the small New Zealand town of Kevin, where something is afoot. With the town in a flutter about it’s first traffic light there is a scandal brewing. Who’s behind the terrible plot, and who will save the day? Scandal and intrigue abound in what is surely one of New Zealand’s greatest musicals;

“The best Kiwi musical you’ve never seen” –

Steve Wrigley and Cyan Corwine star in this all singing, all dancing, all mania musical spectacular while the set comes a close third on the bill. The creation of the show was assisted by the NZ Comedy Trust’s Creative Comedy Initiative in 2011, the show has been re-mastered and re-imagined for 2012.

Well know to audiences from his appearances on 7Days, Comedy Galas, AotearoHAs and as head writer for The Jono Project, Steve has established himself as one of New Zealand’s premier comedians. Always full of energy, Steve is a captivating performer whether it’s on our screens, at the comedy club or singing his lungs out in KEVIN: The Musical.

Cyan Corwine is a New York native who worked with Steve on the Jono Project and this year debuted her first Solo performance, “Dialogue With A Mannequin”. She has also been the subject of Steve’s three previous stand up shows, these shows all saw their own debut at the NZ International Comedy festival and chronicled Steve’s and Cyan’s long distance relationship, and eventual marriage.

“Kevin (The Musical) really is a stand out production within this years’ Comedy Festival” – 

FUEL FESTIVAL 2012, Hamilton 
The Meteor
Fri 22 & Sat 23 June, 7.30pm 

Set & props created by Cyan Corwine and Steve Wrigley
Lights & sound operated by
Stewart (Last Name Unkown) - Herald; Nell Williams - Bats  


Wrigley sets the bar higher again

Review by John Smythe 18th May 2011

Some of the best comedy arises from tragedy and Kevin: The Musical is no exception.

A tragic accident has left Kevin the cleaner (Steve Wrigley) – yeah right; Bats has a full-time cleaner – with no option but to stage his favourite musical himself, thanks to his happening to have the karaoke CD (score by Mark Dennison) to replace the deceased show band.

But first the front-of-house ticket-taker, Kristine (Cyan Corwine), has to appraise us of the situation and our legal positions. Despite going on to claim she is not an actor or singer when Wrigley’s Kevin asks for her help, Corwine delivers this in a hyper-acted kooky style (she’s from New York City) that clearly announces we are in for comedy with a capital K.

Having looked at the excellent 5-panel ‘backdrop’ depicting the main intersection of Kevin (pop 127), featuring a floral roundabout emblazoned with ‘KEVIN’, I had assumed the place Kevin would rhyme with Levin. It doesn’t.  

In essence, Darren* has failed to make it in the city and is obliged to return to his “horrible home”, land-locked Kevin. The Mayor, who has portraits of Kiri Te Kanawa, Dave Dobbyn and Neil Finn in his office, has a problem: towns need to have a population of 300 to get on the map, except if they have traffic lights they must buy law appear on Land Transport maps …

Darren gets a job in the local Fish ’n’ Chip shop only to discover its evil proprietor – ironically played as a puppet – has found a dastardly solution to Kevin’s lack of proximity to the sea. His wife Karen (Corwine) becomes Darren’s ally … and in bringing the tale to its heroic conclusion, a new way is found of putting Kevin on the map (courtesy of a surprise nightly Guest).

The modular set – created together by Corwine and Wrigley – is fantastic, with turns of the five tall boxes taking us from the intersection into the Mayor’s office; Darren’s bed (provoking a fabulous duet between him and his alarm clock); the visionary Metropolis Karen dreams of escaping to; and the Forbidden Forest … Star of the props is a Kiwi made from rubber gloves and plungers (for unblocking drains).  

Ebullient and engaging in his multi-character performance, Wrigley belts all the songs out with little modulation but the lyrics are clear and largely a hoot. The complexities of trying to do it all with one performer and an assistant add to the fun.

At one point the excellent Nell Williams (on lights and sound) tells them they only have 15 minutes left, which given them an excuse to rush through some expositional story-telling and get on to the climax and resolution. But the show is so good I’d like to see it fully developed for a longer (e.g. 90 minute) slot.  

Not willing to rest on his laurels as a master of improv and of stand-up, Steve Wrigley has again set the bar higher with a cleverly conceived comedy show.

*Is this a same Darren Sanders whose adventures as an Office Boy were such a hit in 2009? And what about the Darren who was one of The Mullet Brothers in 2006?
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Songs deepen laughter lines

Review by Jacqueline Smith 12th May 2011

Jovial local comedian Steve Wrigley – a regular fixture on 7 Days – has decided to extend his vocal range this year.

He plays janitor Kevin, who, by tragic circumstances that require too much explanation for this review, winds up as the star in a musical (also called Kevin) playing multiple personalities and professing his love to Kiri Te Kanawa within the first few minutes of the production.

A comedy festival creative grant helped him compose an hour of passionate musical numbers, and build an elaborate set that takes him from the bus to the bedroom, and the fish and chip shop to the roundabout in swift manoeuvres. [More]
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Wit, stylisation and intelligence makes for stand out production

Review by Stephen Austin 11th May 2011

Steve Wrigley is quite possibly one of the most creative comics on the current Kiwi comedy circuit and Kevin: The Musical is the best Kiwi musical you’ve never seen.

Kevin was apparently a once great Kiwi musical, written in the 80’s as a movie that alas, went straight to VHS. Resurrecting the musical onstage for the very first time, a tragic accident sees the cast and crew mangled on the road outside the theatre, leaving only Kevin the theatre janitor (and quite possibly Kevin the Musical’s greatest fan) to perform the show for us.

Along the way we meet a few of the residents of the town of Kevin: the Mayor, keen to “put the town of Kevin on the map” by funding a set of traffic lights for the town centre; Darryn, an unemployed, depressed kiwi bloke, who may be destined to save the town from a power-mad fish & chip shop owner and hopefully win the girl who just so happens to be married to the fish and chip shop owner. Plus a chorus of thousands of Kiwi birds.

In this show, Wrigley expands his one man band ethos to include musician Mark Dennison, and Wrigley’s real life fiancée Cyan whose innovative, transformative set and puppetry creates many of the theatrical moments of delight.

Unfortunately, her somewhat unpolished onstage performance is eclipsed by Wrigley. It’s not so much that she isn’t good, just that she’s nowhere near as strongly committed to the performance as he is.

His energy is breathtaking; masterful use of both language and delivery. There’s no one better with a throwaway line or a cheap visual gag, and it’s all in aid of the progression of the multi-levelled story and characters. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a crowd genuinely laugh quite so loud for quite so long.

The music is highly functional to the story, more descriptive of plot and action than driving forward momentum, but maybe a little overly singular in the harmonic line, so songs come across like an eight-year-olds vision of what a musical should sound like. But here, again, Wrigley proves he has the chops to carry a tune with relish and never misses a beat.

Sound levels of the pre-recorded music seemed rather high, losing some of the excellent writing at the heart of the score, compounded by the levels of the finale – including “actors” hand-picked from the audience – being a little misjudged by the operator and getting lost through the laughter of the opening night audience.

Despite the frantic energy, the production almost loses a little steam late in the piece from its heavy reliance on set and props and the need to keep the stage workable. The two performers even leave the stage bare for a moment for a costume change and, despite trying to retain pace with ‘noises-off’, the forward through-line set up early-on sags a bit. I would also have liked to see a little more commitment to the reality of the framing story at the beginning to pull us in.

Someone in the production team certainly knows their musicals and coarse theatre gags but it’s all delivered with a level of wit, stylisation and intelligence not often seen on a local comedy stage. It is refreshing to see a show in this festival that isn’t essentially stand-up with a theatrical after-thought tacked on.

Kevin really is a stand out production within this years’ Comedy Festival and deserves a tour of the country. So see him now while you can – Steve Wrigley’s a busy, talented fella and I would suspect overseas is calling right about now.
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