Matiaha Paku - Top to Tail

Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

22/02/2011 - 26/02/2011

Polson Higgs Comedy Club, XII Below Bar, Dunedin

23/03/2011 - 26/03/2011

NZ Fringe Festival 2011

Dunedin Fringe 2011

Production Details

Muts is taking comedy to small town NZ! From Cape Reinga to Bluff, it’s gonna be one heck of a hikoi!

Fringe Bar
22 – 26 Feb 8:00pm

Full $16.00
Concession $13.00
Fringe Addict Card Holder $12.00 

Dunedin Fringe 2011 

Venue: Polson Higgs Comedy Club at XII Below 
March 23, 24, 25, 26 
Time:  10:00pm 
Duration:  60 Minutes 
Prices:  Full: $16  |  Concession:  $13  |  Group (6+): $12 
Tickets:  TicketDirect, Ph. 03 477-8597. Booking fees may apply 
TicketDirect website  


Quirky take on history bobs above the numb bum line

Review by Patrick Davies 24th Mar 2011

Muts takes us on his journey from the ‘top to tail’ if New Zealand, from the Cape to the Bluff taking in the historical sights and interesting characters and towns through time. Kind of a Maori version of Dr Who (Tennant or course) and with just the same irreverent humour.

Armed with a power point presentation, Matiaha Paku’s show is part fourth form class trip via technology and part paean to the spirit and ideals that make us Kiwis. I learnt more about our history in this 60 minute show than…. well than the one year I took history at school (and there was even less to learn way back then).

This kind of show isn’t new – there’s been The Unauthorised History of New Zealand and Te Radar’s Eating the Dog and Top to Tail show easily joins these for enjoyable yarns of Godzone.

Images from postcards and his own camera pop up to illuminate not only his particular subject during the show but more often than not (ahhh, the magic of the laptop) each sight gets appended with a sight gag or comment which always raised a further laugh from the audience.

Thoroughly entertaining, he has a wealth of facts an figures about places, people and history. The translation of some of our wonderful place names is very funny and his laid back style and kidlike wonder at it all suits the Comedy Club and is a great change of pace for the last show of the evening. Sitting back with a beer it’s like watching a favourite comedy on tele – settle into your chair and be entertained.

Muts is from Levin and is a short, compact guy with some sexy ink down one arm. He is rather self effacing but has a wonderful confident manner and a great stage presence carrying the show effortlessly. His quirky take on history keeps the laughs rumbling through the show and, even though he himself felt the show was long and becoming just a history lesson, his warmth and amount of funny and true information keep the show bobbing above numb bum line.

That being said, I think he could shave five minutes off for a tighter show. 90% of it is great but he does run the risk of a wandering mind during those times when he is investigating material you are familiar with. But then everyone is going to have a different level on knowledge about some of the material.

I for one had no idea some of our founding fathers were the scandalous scoundrels they were – The Great Abduction would make a great historical crime/soap any day. Muts’ take on this all is what makes our Kiwi character: our tough man image; Kiwi ingenuity; and… Well I can’t give it all away – its well worth finding out for yourself.

With the odd small tweak this is a great show worth catching, I think he should be given his own tour through schools. Do your mind and belly a favour and go and catch some history / geography and some laughs.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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A struggle

Review by Helen Sims 24th Feb 2011

Matiaha Paku has been travelling overseas for quite a while, and when he returned home to New Zealand it struck him as a good idea to continue travelling, to see as much as possible of his native country. Then he decided to create an hour long show blending history and comedic observations about his trip. It’s aided by a slide show of photos and kiwiana imagery, with the odd visual gag thrown in.

Paku is a likeable enough performer, but his opening night was hampered by several things. First, he played to an audience of six people. Secondly, the show is loosely structured to relaying some “interesting” historical facts about each place he travelled, and then ribbing it gently. Due to the earthquake in Christchurch that day, he’d had to hastily re-jig some material.

Partly because of this – but not wholly, as he covers a lot of other places – the material felt unpolished and Paku struggled to remember quite a few details, sometimes getting dates and names that were written on the slides behind him wrong. He also struggled to conclude the show, and seemed to feel obliged to deliver some kind of profound ending.

Most of the laughs sprung from Paku’s self deprecating remarks and apologies about the show. If you did 3rd form social studies in New Zealand, you’ll probably be conversant with most of the historical material in the show already. Given that the Fringe season is a test run before taking the show to Dunedin, I think the show would be improved by concentrating on some of the more obscure facts about each city or town and sharpening and/or personalising the observations.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


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