The Dark Room, Cnr Pitt and Church Street, Palmerston North

05/05/2017 - 06/05/2017

The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St, Auckland

16/05/2017 - 20/05/2017

NZ International Comedy Festival 2017

Production Details

Former frustrated poet and ad-man, James Keating attempts to understand his twisted career path in light of a line from a Hemingway novel: “When I was your age I was before the mast on a square rigged ship that ran to Africa and I have seen lions on the beaches in the evening.”

Using his trademark hilarious one-liners, James floats on a sea of witty wordplay and clever puns towards a conclusion. For anyone puzzled by their own pathway, aside from an hour of quality laughs, this show will probably be of no help at all.

“Endearing awkwardness wrapped around elegant, clever material. Genuinely smart, witty gags” – Christchurch Comedy Carnival

The Dark Room, Palmerston North
Friday 5 May & Saturday, 6 May 2017
8:00 pm
Adult:  $15.00
Concession:  $10.00
Book here

The Classic Studio, Level 1, 321 Queen St, CBD, Auckland
Tuesday 16 May 2017 – Saturday 20 May 2017
$22 / $18 
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Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

1 hr

Clever and well-polished

Review by Adam Dodd 07th May 2017

A staple of the Classic Comedy Club in Auckland and previous nominee for the Billy T Award, James Keating is a treat for the Manawatu.  In light of this, and with the recent support of local stand-up, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed to find the venue sparsely attended. Perversely, it is almost fitting – there is an economy to My Way or the Hemingway that its titular inspiration would have been proud of.

James Keating delivers the bulk of his routine affecting what has become his iconic deadpan. With all wrought awkwardness and every action held in reserve, Keating is nonetheless acutely expressive – contributing much in the subtle widening of his eyes and tilting of his head. Perhaps a touch overused, this works exquisitely for the stock portion of Keating’s material.

The setting is simple but intriguing: a child-sized bed with a book propped open atop it. The cover reads ‘Impressions’. The significance of this is revealed to us in due course, but it puts me in mind of my own experiences with Hemingway: a stark cubism in words, impressions and admissions. Rich provocations and opportunities for Keating to autobiographically explore the formative aspects of his past and path. 

Employing a framework of chapters in his life, Keating establishes a good structure to integrate his material. Each of these sections begins well, flashing back enticingly to snapshots of his childhood – funny and full of character. Skilfully adept at one-liners, Keating has a great grasp of language, using wit and wordplay to elicit a steady stream of guffaws and bemused groans alike.

But these all too quickly revert back into stock jokes – still funny, still demonstrating the strength of Keating as an entertainer but not developing the show thematically. There is a depth that is missed in the delivery, and with greater exploration Keating would add a significance to My Way or the Hemingway that as yet isn’t there.

As stand-up goes, Keating’s material is clever and well-polished: a fantastic hour of entertainment at a great price. Don’t miss out on seeing it if you get a chance.   

[The Editor takes responsibility for this being published a day late.]


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