Rhys Darby & Dai Henwood in THE EVERYMEN
16/05/2006 - 20/05/2006
Rhys Darby & Dai Henwood
Have you ever wondered why women run New Zealand?
Dai Henwood and Rhys Darby bring their unique form of character comedy back to New Zealand for 10 shows over 2 cities.
Meet Benson Horimia, a rural lawyer putting the ‘Iwi’ in ‘Kiwi’ and Bill Napier, a park ranger with a no idea but a bloody good hat. These two along with a host of other characters give a glaring insight into the kiwi male.
In 2005 Rhys Darby won ‘Best international achievement’ at the NZ Comedy Guild awards and for the second year in a row Dai Henwood won ‘Best Male Comedian.’ Rhys has been gigging constantly in the U.K. with the Edinburgh and Glastonbury festivals under his belt. Dai has been touring from Tokyo Comedy Store to London with a bit of Australia thrown in just to keep it real.
Theatre , Comedy ,
Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 24th May 2006
The Everymen is a rare treat. Two men unafraid to tackle some pretty hefty current political, social and blokey issues, through their outstanding character comedy. Do they get away with it? Of course they do. These men are clever writers, superb actors and bloody funny, as they probe that peculiar species, the kiwi male.
We start in darkness and listen to a warm radio voice listing some iconic famous New Zealand men, including Chris Warner and others who’ll make you giggle. Then our friend asks us, ‘what about the everymen? The normal blokes of New Zealand.’
First we meet Park Ranger Bill Napier, a great bloke, a real man, a caring man, full of knowledge, with advice for everyone, even gay men who like to tramp. Rhys is straight away, his usual best: the mannerisms, accent and intonation, fine-tuned to perfection.
Next we meet Dai’s Benson Horimia, a rural lawyer on a segue. Benson is a brave man; convincing us he’s a kiwi battler, not a scam artist, as he defends himself on a fishing charge. I’m still trying to work out the significance of the segue, but if it’s working for Dai, and it’s tax deductible, I can go with it.
Enter scammer #2, Rhys as Ron Taylor, who’ll happily take you on a whale-watching ride, in his nearly deflated dingy. He’ll even play boy-racers with the coast guard for an extra no-cost thrill. Ron should come with a warning label, to check the state of the whales before you ride.
Dai returns, this time possessed by crowd favourite, ultra-cocky, John the bank teller, who strikes a chord with a row of drunken lads from Inglewood. Dai copes well with their contribution to the evening, and his fans from the Naki hang on his every word as he dishes out advice on how to catch the ladies. While some of Dai’s jokes and observations don’t tickle my funny bone, John the bank teller seems to rock with the Naki crew, so who am I to judge. Anyway, John looks so outrageous it’s hard not to be amused.
Next out of the wings, another brilliant character creation from Rhys, UFO support group co-coordinator, in fact, UFO-oligist, the lovely, gentle, and softly spoken, Steve Whittle. Though some of the material is disturbing, the performance is totally engaging. And we get a wee bonus at the end, as Rhys starts up his trademark helicopter.
Now it gets really interesting. John the banker meets Ron the whale watcher. The status play between characters (and actors) is highly amusing. Just as it is when Dai’s Mike Pero meets Rhys’s Danyon Loader.
It’s worth venturing out into the wintery night, just to see what Rhys does next, as his Sunday driver incites the ultimate road-rage highway meltdown.
Next our original characters return, and when Bill Napier tries to write up Benson Horimia for yet more illegal fishing and related activities, the ensuing spelling bee par excellence, has the audience in stitches.
Rhys Darby has been hailed ‘Best International Achiever’ and Dai Henwood ‘Best Male Comedian’ By the NZ Comedy Guild. Go and see this show to find out why they deserve these accolades and more.
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Has its moments
Review by John Smythe 18th May 2006
Fair enough, I think, as Rhys Darby then Dai Henwood treat us to the first of their unsung Kiwi everymen’. They’re starting low key, giving themselves somewhere to go. And yes, they sort of do. But it’s not what anyone who got a taste of them – Rhys especially – at the First Laughs show might be expecting. So leave your preconceptions at the door.
Barely a sound effect passes Rhys’s lips and he plays out no twisted multi-character tales that take-off into outer space. What he does do is a series of relatively earth-bound characters. Brilliantly. Whatever he turns his hand to, Rhys Darby does extremely well.
His taciturn DOC Ranger, Bill Napier, is a classic Kiwi funny-bone tickler. In total contrast, but still very rural, his would-be whale watching tourism operator, Ron Taylor, is squeaky voiced and delightfully dodgy.
Meanwhile Dai Henwood rolls out a new character in Benson Horomia, defending himself on a charge of illegal fishing. Whatever the underlying idea is here, it hasn’t reached the surface yet. I became preoccupied with how the way he holds his mouth combines with his curly black wig to remind me of Ross Jolly in series one of Gliding On. Not the most wished-for reaction, I bet.
Dai’s John the bank teller from Taranaki makes a comeback later to offer uninspired advice on dating. He also makes the inexplicable claim that his long blonde crimped locks represent a 1997 hair style. Watching a performer being clever with character acting and physical stuff is fine as far as it goes but if the vehicle has no destination the ride becomes a bit pointless.
When Rhys returns as endearingly nerdy UFO-logist Steve Whittle, I brace myself for his wacky mechanical and supersonic sound effects but no. Instead he reveals a sadly deluded young man in denial about the damage others have done to him. Poignant. And all the better for subverting expectations.
Blonde John, in his tight white short-shorts, resuscitates an interpretative dance routine to no great effect then goes off whale watching with Ron in a sequence that – again – doesn’t go anywhere much. Their double act as Danyon Loader (Rhys) and Mike Pero (Dai), casually one-upping each other as TV icons might, benefits from having more purpose.
Nicely topical is the way much of the preceding material is brought to focus on the impending tsunami, in the hours following the Tongan earthquake, before the alarm is known to be false. Talkback radio, callers on car phones, road rage and more illegal fishing bring Bill and Benson face-to-face with the big one for their finale.
It’s not exactly a stir-you-up-and-leave-you-breathless show but it does have its moments and it leaves you with some memorable images.
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