Peter Helliar: HELLRAISER

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

24/05/2007 - 25/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Peter Helliar

Star of Rove Live, Peter Helliar returns to NZ for 2 Nights Only! The race to the end of the world is on. Who will be the winner? Terrorism? North Korea? Global warming? God? The Devil? Or will it be a talent-less reality TV star?

“Peter Helliar makes the difficult business of being funny look dead easy.” – ADELAIDE ADVERTISER, AUS
Dates:  Thur 24 & Fri 25 May, 8pm
Venue:  SKYCITY Theatre, Cnr Wellesley & Hobson Streets, Auckland City
Bookings:  Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)
Tickets:  Adults $35 Conc. $29 Groups 10+ $29
Show Duration:  1 hour

Theatre , Solo , Stand-up comedy ,

1 hr

Bare-bones standup

Review by Nik Smythe 26th May 2007

Anyone who watches Rove, as I gather many folks do, will already be familiar with Peter Helliar.  On his poster, and indeed in real life, he looks like a cross between Keifer Sutherland and Philip Seymour Hoffman. He talks with an Australian accent which we unfortunately can’t harass him for, because even more unfortunately he’s from there. 

I don’t mean that, I’m just filling this out as best I can on the topic of the show of a typically low-budget badly dressed comedian who tells some jokes and makes everyone laugh, talks a lot of shit and makes everyone laugh, skulks slowly and sheepishly backwards offstage and makes everyone laugh. 

Apart from being Australian and a celebrity, albeit one I wasn’t familiar with myself, there’s little to distinguish Helliar’s production from the others.  In fact he may well be the among the most generic – and/or unpretentious – but we laughed and laughed and at the end we left with high levels of serotonin in our brains, so mission accomplished.  He is highly skilled in the craft of rambling on about mostly pointless rubbish.  

On this night his most impressive stunt was incorporating the contribution of a gung-ho heckler whom he dubbed ‘Gavin’, who shouted ‘Smoking harms others!’ just as Helliar was inquiring whether we had the graphic anti-smoking pictures on our cigarette packets, leading him to the logical conclusion that, since we haven’t the budget for the images, we must simply hire Gavin to shout warnings whenever someone sparks up.  Brilliant.

Helliar is simply being himself, or at least his comedic persona, playing his willingly paying and seated theatre crowd with his jovial arrogance and his comfortably volatile mix of honesty and showmanship – and only he knows what percentage of each makes up the recipe.  Peter Helliar is Peter Helliar like any bare-bones style standup comedian is who s/he is (e.g. from this 2007 comedy festival: Ed Byrne, Dylan Moran, Stephen K. Amos, Brendhan Lovegrove … ), communicating his humour in ways he may well not fully understand himself but which just works, so who cares how. 

It’s a bit like Douglas Adams’ famous flying lesson: Jump off something high up, and miss the ground.


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