Mrs. Peacock: Six Feet From The Edge
23/04/2008 - 26/04/2008
Comedy Underground, 305 Queen St, Auckland
06/05/2008 - 10/05/2008
NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013
BILLY T AWARD WINNERS STRUGGLE WITH FAME, FORTUNE
Fame is tough, say 2007 Billy T Award winners Mrs. Peacock. The musical duo, whose NZ International Comedy Festival show ROCK 101 garnered them New Zealand comedy’s most prestigious award, have struggled with the pressure of life in the public eye since taking home the famous yellow towels last year.
"The fans, the paparazzi, the expectations – it all gets a little much sometimes," says Jarrod Baker, one half of the comedy group. "We knew that winning the Billy was a big deal, but we certainly didn’t expect this sort of nationwide exposure."
Dave Smith, the other half of Mrs. Peacock, agrees. "It used to be that when we told people what we did, every now and again 1 or 2 people would have heard of us. And most of those people were confusing us with Flight of the Conchords."
"But a couple of weeks ago, someone recognised me in the street. And she didn’t even cross the road to avoid me."
The pair’s struggle was also a creative one. Under the spotlight, they discovered that their hearts lay in very different musical directions.
"I guess Dave would like us to go down a more prog-rock kind of path. But I reckon synths and electro are where it’s at," says Baker.
"Unfortunately for Jarrod, I write pretty much all of the music," adds Smith.
But what does this mean for their show in the 2008 NZ International Comedy Festival? "We’re pretty much going to settle our differences – live, on stage," says Smith. "We’ll be telling the story of the year since we won the Billy T award, right up to the day of the show. So it’ll be different every night."
"Hopefully we can sort out our issues during the Festival," says Baker. "Otherwise we might have to split up the band. And then our 2009 Festival show would have to be a reunion show, and those have so been done."
Dates: April 23rd – 26th, 8pm
Venue: BATS, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
Tickets: Adults $16, Concessions and Groups of 6+ $13 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: BATS – 04 802 4175 or www.bats.co.nz
Dates: May 6th – 10th, 8:30pm
Venue: Comedy Underground, Wallace Trust Gallery, 305 Queen St
Tickets: Adults $16, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $13
Bookings: TICKETEK – 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
50 min, no interval
Hamstrung by expectation?
Review by Sian Robertson 07th May 2008
Dave Smith and Jarrod Baker are ‘Mrs Peacock’ – the band that doesn’t have a front man with a huge forehead. Six Feet From The Edge is about them trying to write a rock opera… and it’s not really working for them; Dave’s talking about going overseas with his girlfriend; they don’t like each other’s ideas; they don’t have many ideas; they don’t even seem to care that much about having good ideas.
The whole slacker duo planning a gig idea isn’t in itself a cop out (Flight of the Conchords pulled it off) but the fact that every song is about how they’re falling out, falling apart, and failing to come up with new ideas, makes it all seem a bit uninspired; that and the fact that they’re aren’t making very many jokes.
At first I thought the trouble was that it wasn’t honed enough and needed the timing sorted, etc, and I was uncertain which bits were supposed to be funny. It’s like they forgot they were doing a comedy and didn’t think to add bits for us to laugh at.
Most of it is them talking about how they should get on with writing the rock opera and arguing half-heartedly about what to do next and singing songs about lack of direction and insecurity, e.g. "30th Birthday Breakdown", "Is He Breaking Up With Me", "Where Do We Go From Here (Have we run out of ideas)?" The grunge song, "You make me make no sense" is quite cute, though.
There are some good concepts here – I like the surreal (for stand up comedy) fourth wall sense that they’re actually in a hotel room, peering in the mirror instead of at the audience – or performing facing away from us (towards projected images of the various locations of their gigs). However none of their potentially good ideas are fully exploited, or they suffer from a lack of context, such as the boy band song.
The show’s not very tightly put together – they started singing out of sync with one another a few times and stumbled over some of their lines, but I would hardly have noticed that had there been more to chew on. It’s not that I didn’t laugh at all, but I can count how many times I laughed spontaneously (as in not a sympathy laugh) on my fingers.
The overwhelming impression is that Mrs Peacock just haven’t had a very inspiring year. They repeatedly drop in the fact of their winning the Billy T last year – perhaps they are hamstrung by having heaped too much expectation on themselves to repeat last year’s success.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Falling short of expectations
Review by John Smythe 25th Apr 2008
Can this be the same talented duo whose 2007 Billy T Award-winning show Rock 101 scored the headline "Beautiful, Brilliant, Bliss" over my review?
Given what I’ve said is missing from The Morrisons: Huntly High and Low, I have to credit the potential value in the central premise of Six Feet From the Edge, that the future of ‘Mrs Peacock’ – musical duo Jarrod Baker and Dave Smith – is in jeopardy because their musical tastes are diverging and Dave is planning to go overseas with his girlfriend even though they are trying to write a rock opera together.
In a series of dramatised vignettes, backed by slides of the relevant venues – Outside TVNZ in Auckland; Great Race Ball, Hamilton; Jarrod’s Home, Highbury, Wellington; Dave’s Apartment, The Heritage, Auckland; Baker Family Holiday Home, Kinloch, Taupo … etc. – we are offered a rundown of their lives since winning the coveted yellow towels last year, as they half-heartedly try to get started on the elusive rock opera.
The trouble is they don’t have the acting chops to carry it off. Perhaps they aspire to the minimalist distillation of Flight of the Conchords but it just comes across as low key, uncommitted, slack. Plus their place in the world, their ‘world view’, their value system, is totally limited to – and by – their being a couple of performers with no new ideas and no idea how to go about finding some.
I suspect the only reason Six Feet From the Edge exists at all is that they felt obliged to feed the beast of expectation. So they’ve come up with a show about two guys trying to make up a show except they don’t. And it’s hard to empathise; hard to care. And the odd witty concept – like Rock being the gloved hand of a Customs Officer while Dub is the lubricant – falls flat because it has no meaningful context.
Whereas last year’s show, structured as a lecture, offered black humour, satire and wicked genre send-ups, this year’s songs – ‘Time To Get Up and Fail’, ’30th Birthday Breakdown’, ‘Is He Breaking Up With Me?’, ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ (and will our air points get us there?); ‘Who’s to Blame?’ – seem self-indulgent and inconsequential. And to my inexpert musical ear, there is not enough to compensate in the musicality per se.
If this was their first show ever, I’d probably say they have potential but our expectations are different now. Last year, delighted by such songs as the classic message to their dead friend Tony, their loyal audience demanded an encore and got ‘Newtown Love Song’. They clearly had a following and were going from strength to strength. But this year – albeit on their second night – there was no encore. If they had done one, it would only have reinforced how far short of their usual standard Six Feet From The Edge falls.
Maybe what they need most of all is a script writer-cum dramaturg and/or a director.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Jarrod Baker April 26th, 2008John: Thanks for coming to the show. Sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as last year's. Rather than feeding the beast of expectation, what we were trying to do was something completely new for us - to try and continue to stretch ourselves. I would agree that a director would probably have been helpful. e v: We're comfortable with the idea that we're not everybody's cup of tea. However if that song didn't do it for you we do have others - feel free to check out our website (mrspeacock.com) for examples. However please bear in mind that there may not be any laughing in those recordings either.
e v April 25th, 2008I only saw what was shown on the show on TV2 the other night and I was unimpressed. It was uncomfortable to watch personally because laughs from the audience were basically nonexistant! Not funny at all...
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