Marjolein Robertson RELATIONS

Meow, Edward St CBD, Wellington

14/02/2017 - 15/02/2017

NZ Fringe Festival 2017 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe. Shetland comedian Marjolein Robertson has headed from her Scottish home, where she lives with her Mam, Dad, Sister, Brother-in-law and Niece to New Zealand to broaden her horizons and live with some cousins and to seek men who are not blood relatives. Also perform stand up at the New Zealand Fringe in Wellington.

After a successful debut run at the Edinburgh Fringe, in which Marjolein’s show “The UK’s 2nd Most Northerly Comedian” received warm reviews, she has now combined her love of comedy and New Zealand and her tax rebate to travel across the world to perform in Wellington.

Marjolein comes from the rural, isolated island, Shetland, in which she grew up on a sheep farm surrounded by family, relatives and sheep. After initially travelling to New Zealand to play fiddle at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2014 she fell in love with the country and found a home from home, meeting family and friends and forming many relations. These amongst others have formed the core of her show.

Her stand up explores relations of all types including family relations; soon to be your family as she tells stories of each character letting you get to know them; geographical relations: with observational comedy on the outside world from a small islander’s perspective; political relations: because we just lived through 2016 and if we hadn’t laughed through it we’d cry, and, finally; some brutally honest accounts of sexual relations (rude).

Marjolein has been studying and performing improv and stand up since 2014, she had performed in the Edinburgh Fringe, Amsterdam, New York and even Shetland. Her drive for comedy and lack of a comedy scene 60 degrees North in Shetland has led her to performing stand up at musical open mics and even create the Shetland Comedy Night, a regular event hosting improv and stand up in the Shetland town of Lerwick. 

Her show entitled ‘Marjolein Robertson: Relations’ will be running on the 14th and 15th February at 8.00pm at Meow in Arthur Street.

“Intensely likeable person and a very promising comedian” – TVBomb
“Confidence way beyond her years.” – Shetland News.

MEOW, 9 Edward Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Tuesday 14 & Wednesday 15 February 2017
8:00pm (50 mins)
Concession/Student: $12 | Fringe Addict: $10 | Full: $16
Buy Tickets
Wheelchair access available.

Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

50 mins

From familial, geopolitical and sexual to paradoxical political paradigms

Review by John Smythe 14th Feb 2017

Perched on a bar stool at a high table a Meow, attempting to acquire the taste for Manuka beer (the Fringe is all about trying out new things, right?) I contemplate the visual context for Marjolein Robertson’s show about Relations (everything’s relative, right?).

High on a wall hangs a goat head who can’t be called lonely because he is flanked by a stag and a taxidermed (sp?) wallaby. More stuffed wallabies gaze mournfully from the other side of the stage, which is basic except for the chunderscape cladding on the back wall: an appropriate context for some of her stories, it emerges.  

For some reason I’m equating her name with ‘marginal’ which may also be appropriate for where some of her tales take us – all true personal experiences, she claims, except for one that happened to her sister (it’s up to us to guess which). But the ‘j’ is pronounced ‘y’ as in Mary-o-lein and it’s up to us to decide which biblical Mary she channels more.

Can you have sex and still be a virgin? This is answered more than one way and is relevant to the particularly Shetland concept of ‘bag affing’. She comes from the Shetland Islands, by the way – a 14 hour ferry ride from Aberdeen – and this is her second trip to NZ. She’s been touring the South Island with a relation (of course) and a Johnny Farnham tape, and has played this show in Westport which gives rise to a chuckle or two for us capital sophisticates.

The relations her stories cover are familial, geopolitical and sexual. The quest for ‘fresh meat’ beyond the familial sees her bag aff, or not, with men from Sweden, Norway, Holland and a South Island lad … Of the various accents she attempts her Kiwi uz diffnitly th’ bist. She wins with some whimsical observations about us too.

Then there’s her Valentine’s Day dates with Hayden … And the dodgy story she ends on to prove that despite her having a Masters in Archaeology her expertise in ‘relations’ is, well, marginal.  

Marjolein Robertson has a relaxed and engaging manner and might have connected with us even more if she’d asked the techie to lift the houselights a little. We could have been more animated; less like the stuffed wallabies, perhaps.

When she asks if we want her Trump joke we groan a “no” then want it anyway, as an encore. Meanwhile her observations about the two referenda they had in Scotland, in 2014 then 2016, proves how paradoxical political paradigms can be: unrelated to logic or sense. That is the ‘take home’ moment for me; you may treasure others more.


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