Lindauer Comedy Divas

Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Town Hall, Auckland

14/05/2007 - 21/05/2007

Paramount, Wellington

22/05/2007 - 22/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

“The trouble with some women is they get all excited about nothing, and then they marry him.” – CHER

The highly popular Festival Event that celebrates extraordinary glamour, mystery, a liberal sprinkling of tragedy and the most fabulously hilarious comedy in this year’s programme returns to steal the limelight and take centre stage for the highly anticipated Lindauer Comedy Divas .

Best enjoyed over a glass of fizz (or three) this tribute to Divadom is a classy, sassy and slick riotous evening of laughs out for both the girls and the lads and everyone who has experienced the bewitching charms of the fairer sex.

This is one date that is certain to stand you up, when the Festival’s most stunning comedians of the feminine persuasion perform an hour and half showcase to toast the ladies of comedy.

If you fancy a night out with the vixens you’ll need to free up your credit card, cancel your botox appointment and book in advance for this Festival Favourite Event.

The line-up features performances from New Zealand’s top comedians, Michele A’Court, Jan Maree, Irene Pink, Penny Ashton, Jules Douglas-Smith, TM Bishop, Ash Kilmartin, The Improv Divas, Cathie Sheat, Caroline E Waltz, Ivanja Dabrowska and more…

(N.B. Line up varies each night for show details check )

WARNING: It is advisable to wear Waterproof Mascara to this event

Mon 14 & 21 May, 7.30pm
Hosted by Michele A’Court on Monday 14 May and Jan Maree on Monday 21 May.
Featuring local favourites Irene Pink, Penny Ashton, Jules Douglas-Smith, TM Bishop, Ash Kilmartin and more
Venue:  Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE®, Auckland
Bookings:  TICKETEK  (0800 842 5385)

Mon 22 May, 7.30pm,
Hosted by Jan Maree
Featuring local favourites Irene Pink, The Improv Divas, Cathie Sheat, Caroline E Waltz, Ivanja Dabrowska and more…
Venue:  Paramount Theatre, 25 Courtenay Place, Wellington
Bookings:  Paramount Theatre 04 384 4080 & 0800 TICKETEK  (0800 842 5385)

Michele A'Court
Jan Maree,
Irene Pink
Penny Ashton
Jules Douglas-Smith
TM Bishop
Ash Kilmartin
The Improv Divas
Cathie Sheat
Caroline E Waltz
Ivanja Dabrowska
...and more

Theatre , Comedy , Improv ,

Mondays only:

Viva les Divas

Review by Thomas LaHood 23rd May 2007

I propose a toast, to these Comediennes and particularly their wonderful host Jan Maree; Thank you for a wonderful night.  I toast on behalf of the almost capacity crowd at the Paramount on Tuesday night who were treated to over two hours of great comedy entertainment, and a wonderful variety of talent.

Jan Maree is a delightful host, with a courageous brassiness that is never brash or grating.  Her jokes range freely from the dirt crude (on blowjobs with a condom: "It’s like eating a sausage roll without taking it out of the bag"), to the joyously astute (on her mother’s mannerisms) without missing a beat.  She gives out prizes with the compulsive impetuosity of, say, Julian Clary – offering a magnum to an audience member based on the sound of their laugh, but refusing to award it when they don’t perform on cue.  She is rebellious and fun, like a drop-out student given the run of the assembly, and singling out the headmaster for detention.

The opening act strikes a bit of a flat note in comparison, a weary effort by the Improv Divas.  These four WIT affiliates limp literally and figuratively through a couple of ‘impros’ which lack pace, timing and… well, humour.  Improvisation is by its nature risky but this time it was just bad.

Fortunately ‘Ivanja Dabrowska’ the Russian bondage mistress lifts the bar with the next set, Ciara Mulholland performing only an hour before her solo show (50 Minutes with Ivanja Dabrowska)  is to open at Bats Theatre.  Mulholland has created a fully-realised character in Dabrowska, and she is commanding and in some ways deeply beautiful to watch on stage.  Although it’s more theatrical than stand-up and therefore doesn’t convince 100% in this abbreviated format, it’s a stunning performance and a great taster for the full-length show.

Caroline E Waltz lets rip with a hysterical opening salvo of gags, picking up some of the biggest laughs of the night.  She can’t quite keep this momentum for the whole set, but still presents some ripe, juicy material fresh from her obviously fertile (and somewhat sordid) mind.  The eccentric in a line-up of some considerable eccentricity, Waltz is a true original.

The second half is a rip-roarer, starting with another generous helping of Maree, followed up by fresh-faced Emma Osbourne, whose bright and brilliant set is a highlight of the show.  Osborne has scooped the pool of Comedy Awards both in Wellington and Auckland, and it’s no trouble seeing why.  Her humour is both sharp and impeccably fast-dealt, fizzing with the faux-irony of youth.  She leaves the audience breathless.  

Cathie Sheat follows in convincing style with a slightly slower but equally piercing set, each of her gags finding a bulls-eye.  Sheat demonstrates the cool accuracy of the professional.  Her weaker material, derived from her ‘day job’ as a lawyer, is still built on solid foundations and delivers on the punchlines.  Her more well-honed stuff, centred on life as a lesbian, is tight and furiously funny, delivered blow for blow to bigger and bigger laughs until she finishes triumphant. 

Irene Pink rounds off the programme with an effortless display of ‘diva-as-it-should-be-done’, demonstrating her techniques for toying with helpless All Blacks and Zambesi staff, abortion protesters and weight-watchers counselors.  Pink’s effortless delivery and rapport with the audience is deceptively skilful.  Her economy of gesture and volume belies the range of expression within her reach.  She gives a short and concise set that refreshes the audience after a long night’s laughing.

The star of the show, however, is clearly Maree.  Always in control, if not according to schedule, she delights and entertains throughout.  From the front row we could even hear her irrepressible guffaws from the wings as she watched her fellow comics on the stage.  She is currently exploring the logistics of bringing her comedy cooking show Eat Me to Wellington for Fringe 2008, and if she does, go!

Maree closes the set praising the current state of female comedy in New Zealand and with a showcase like this it’s hard to disagree.
For more production details, click on the title at the top of this review. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


Thomas LaHood May 24th, 2007

Cripes! I was going off the programme there, so that strikes me as a bit of a disastrous error!

Ricky Beirao May 24th, 2007

I would like to correct the name of the new comedy diva, it's not Emma Osbourne, It's Emma Olsen.

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Sex, satire and daring to be different

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 15th May 2007

First, my sincere apologies to Divas Penny Ashton and Jules Douglas-Smith. Due to last minute childcare issues beyond my control, I didn’t make it to the venue till Irene Pink was finishing off the first half.

However, I spoke to a woman who has worked in the entertainment industry for decades, who gave me a great summary of what I missed. It was her observation that:

1. Talented host Michele A’Court, struck up a warm rapport with the audience very quickly, and happily wove around global warming; Eden Park vs. paradise lost (water front stadium) and how happy New Zealanders are with "average" as the ultimate goal, making astute and humorous observations throughout.

2. Penny Ashton dressed appropriately for her routine and looked sassy and sexy, as she chatted about sex, her breasts and a very funny lap dance with a happy punter from the front row. The audience loved it.

3. Relative new comer Jules Douglas-Smith, while obviously not as seasoned a performer as her fellow first half Divas, again, chose sex, including a parody of a Nora Jones song, reworded to convey her feelings about bad sex, as the mainstay of her material. While my friend thought local references about Titirangi fell flat because they were a one-dimensional stereotype, she commented that Jules finished on a strong note.

I slipped upstairs into the gallery when Irene Pink was in full flight, and had the capacity crowd, (mainly women, though there were more men than in previous years), in peals of laughter, eating from the palms of her hands. There were shrieks of recognition and a strong sense of shared experience, as Irene recreated the smugness of a skinny speaker addressing a semi-circle of women at a weight watcher’s meeting. Irene is confident, warm, comfortable on the mic, as she makes her well-oiled routine shine once more.

MC Michele opens the second half, in her relaxed, professional manner. She too is at home on the mic, combining her smooth delivery and excellent, varied material extremely well, as both a giving and warm host and comedian in her own right: the perfect MC. Michele leads with a humorous routine about Holly, her 14 year old daughter, and the misery of moving from being a young Victoria University Women’s Rights representative, to being mother of an emo, buying spankies for her daughter’s cheerleading apirations.

Britney Spears, ¾ pants, Steve (now famous member of the Diva’s, having been on stage two years in a row), Hayley Westenra, accountants and Mother’s Day also get a thorough grilling.

Michele makes the point that female stand up comedians come in all flavours, though they are often lumped together as a single genre of comedy.  Agreed – and thank god for variety, as personally, I’m well over jokes about sex, hangovers, penises, slappers and blowjobs. Even though Jan Maree (self labelled filthiest female stand up in NZ and proud of her job as a host at the annual Erotica exhibition and much publicised parade), got some of the biggest laughs of the night, I’m over it. I know what’s coming. I’ve heard it all before. There is no shock value left for me here.

Justine Smith, with her trade mark eyes, via farts, miming the after glow of giving head and gratuitous use of the words f*** and c***, eventually got to Christchurch, her prudish upbringing, and some of her best material.  Driving stoned, strong thighs, and hangovers, also got a work out along the way. With her rapid fire delivery and inability to stay on track, resulting in hilarious asides and ad-libs, Justine is at the top of her game. It’s grubby, it’s hedonistic and the crowd loves her.

I fully appreciate that stand up is probably the hardest job in the performing world – you’re your own writer, director, editor, performer and producer. I fully appreciate how hard it is, and therefore going for the cheap, broad appeal of sex jokes, and shock material, are safe options. So maybe it’s the audience’s reaction I’m over, as both topics, uniformly, gave the guaranteed laughs throughout the second half. The women laughed at the comedians, just as heartily as the men. So what the hell do I know? 

From my perspective then: thank you, most sincerely, to Ash Kilmartin. While, in terms of her delivery, she is still finding the balance between set up time and punch line, (more of the latter, less of the former required), and while at times she over-intellectualises (stream of consciousness rants about theoretical multi choice dilemmas probably look much funnier on paper), at least Kilmartin concentrates on material other than sex.

The Diva audience were mostly 30+ with careers. Kilmartin is much younger and took a student perspective on most things – a tough crowd for her to find common ground with. She did well in the circumstances, especially when the audience, bar a small group in the balcony who laughed throughout her routine, grew quiet. See her show, if not for belly laughs, then at least for an insight into the mind of a clever astute young woman, who has intelligent perspectives on Goths, emo’s, Oasis, NZ Music week, the OC, and daring to be different. She’s got a fierce pout, she’s got stuff to say and she’s fresh.

But if you’re more into sex jokes and shock value? You can’t beat the irrepressible Jan and Justine, both of whom the Diva audience found hugely entertaining, I can’t stress that enough. They know what works for them, they spoke to their audience, and their audience loved it. Good on them – job well done.

To round off my seemingly prudish rave: two things define a comic. Their content and their delivery. Without exception, I witnessed confident, bold women on the Diva stage: their delivery is strong and they made a lasting impression. Content wise? In terms of the routines I saw: thank god for Michele A’Court and Irene Pink, and keep going Ash Kilmartin – good on you for daring to be different.


nik smythe May 17th, 2007

'man', some comedians are so serious! and your pseudo-praise of Kate's bet-hedging self-awareness as if it somehow invalidates her is in turn confusing to me. 'course, i am from titirangi, so there you go. what?

John Smythe May 16th, 2007

Hell hath no fury, it seems, like a fan of a comedienne not raved about. Jules, I welcome your honesty in exercising your right of reply. Your passion shines through and if you didn’t hurt and feel compelled to tell your truth, you wouldn’t have what it takes to be good. Thank you. And all power to your return spot next Monday. ‘Daisy Mae’s outpouring, however – infinitely more ill-informed than she accuses Kate of being and dismaying in its vitriol – prompts me to publicly state my support for Kate’s integrity in being clear about the less-than-ideal circumstances she found herself in. Her only other choices would have been to ignore the first half entirely or not review the show at all. The friend in question was a member of the audience with just as much right to express an opinion as anyone else. This site is all about sharing opinions. Do I need to add that this site has no income, no-one gets paid, and passion, commitment and a love of live performance drives these critics as much as it drives the performers themselves. A free exchange of differing opinions is very welcome. So is a basic respect for each person’s right to have their opinions expressed first hand or reported. I especially respect those who speak out fearlessly under their own names – not least the critics. And the performers, of course. As editor of No Turn Unstoned: the worst ever theatrical reviews, Diana Rigg wrote: “There are so many wonderful qualities to be found in the theatre, and courage predominates … every time an entrance is made, every time an actor or actress undertakes the daring and delicate task of making an audience believe … Another great quality is generosity of spirit …” Here at theatreview we also believe a good critic has passion, generosity of spirit, and courage.

Daisy Mae May 16th, 2007


Jules Douglas-Smith May 16th, 2007

Deleted because this seems to have gotten a bit out of hand and that certainly wasn't my intention. John-I appreciate what you said.Thank you.

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