RHYS DARBY Mr. Adventure

Opera House, Wellington

01/05/2014 - 03/05/2014

Civic Theatre, cnr of Queen Street & Wellesley Street West, Auckland

08/05/2014 - 09/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Rhys Darby, New Zealand’s very own comedy superstar, returns with a brand new show for 2014, and this time he’s taking in the length and breadth of New Zealand in his biggest tour yet! 

From the misty mountains of Rwanda to the eerie shores of Loch Ness, Rhys has attempted to see it all…  Now he’s home to tell you the stories. 

Expect tales of awe from the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, wild wonderment as he describes the gorillas in Rwanda and hilarious live reenactments of his cryptid discoveries in gun-toting Texas! 

In 2012 Darby bought us the fantastical tale of what he thought would happen when the Mayan calendar runs out.  Clearly the world did not end, so Rhys traverses mountains and explores the earth in an effort to show that life can still be a massive adventure bordering on the unbelievable. 

No one brings a yarn to life better than Darby with his classic onstage physicality.  Pack your girdle, you’re likely to lose your insides laughing!  Join him as he regales you with tales so thrilling you’d swear he was making them up. 

Darby is supported by Cornish Rappers Hedluv + Passman, who made their NZ debut in 2013.  They have thrilled audiences with their lo fi casio rap and hilarious onstage personas. 

In between his huge adventures Darby is based in Los Angeles with his family where they like to hike and eat tacos and he appears regularly on US TV in shows like How I met your Mother and The Late Show with David Letterman. 

Winner: Best NZ Comedy (The Fred) 2012

Climbed Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) 2013

“Godspeed time-travelling disco soldier.” **** – Chortle

Tickets on Sale December 9 2013. 
Prices $47.50/$42.50, Booking fees will apply.

Regent Theatre, Friday April 11
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Civic Theatre, Saturday April 12 
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Baycourt Theatre, Monday April 14 
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Turner Centre, Thursday April 17 
Eventfinder, www.eventfinda.co.nz

Captaine Bougainville Theatre, Tuesday April 22
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Founders Theatre, Wednesday April 23
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New Plymouth
TSB Showplace, Saturday April 26
Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.nz

Opera House, Thursday May 1 – Sat May 3

Civic Theatre, The Edge, Thursday May 8 to Fri May 9

Floorpride Civic Theatre, Monday May 19
Ticketdirect  www.ticketdirect.co.nz 

Theatre Royal, Wed 21- Thu 22May 
Ticketdirect, www.ticketdirect.co.nz 

Palmerston North
Regent Theatre, Friday May 23 
Ticketdirect, www.ticketdirect.co.nz 

MTG Napier, Saturday May 24 
Ticketek  www.ticketek.co.nz 

Opera House , Tuesday May 27 
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Theatre Royal, Wednesday May 28 
Eventfinder  www.eventfinda.co.nz 

Regent Theatre, Friday May 30 
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CBS Arena, Saturday May 31
Ticketek  www.ticketek.co.nz

Ingenious epic episodic odyssey

Review by Nik Smythe 09th May 2014

Halfway through a 17-date national tour, Rhys Darby and his intrepid cohorts are very much in their stride as they step up to play the mighty Civic, nearest thing we’ve got to a Carnegie Hall.  Opening night, they should be rather pleased with this particular show; it flies, it pops and it meanders into some rather bizarre places, the near-capacity house behind him every step of the way. And then it comes back, making funny noises and camp miming gestures all the way, and takes off in another unlikely yet, in context, totally feasible direction. 

The fairly extensive warm-up package begins with Darby’s bodyguard, park ranger Bill Napier’s music video of his latest down-home pop single about his blessed occupation tending Nuzillan’s majestic wilderness “like a lean clean mean green killing machine, without the killing”.  After which, Mr Napier appears in person with the permission of Mr Darby to try his hand at this stand-up comedy thing which he reckons looks easy.  From a medium distance in his khaki ranger suit and respectably full moustache, with his laconic southern-man drawl, he could be channelling a young Barry Crump. 

Having warmed us up for the warm-up act proper, Bill introduces Cornwall’s greatest hip-hop gangstsa-rap duo export, Hedluv and Passman.  Hedluv wears the red beanie and the ‘Doin it Dreckly’ teeshirt, plays the casio-tastic keys and raps. Passman’s the one in the singlet and satin burgundy short shorts, with the Freddy Mercury vocals and the Village People dance moves.

Their properly solid beats and tunes belie the laughably lame subject matter of their glibly artful rhymes. From the idiosyncrasies of Cornish dialects to eating chocolate while watching David Attenborough, they’re the most banal lyrics I’ve heard since The Streets. The contrast between their aggressive rapping and their gentle in-between banter is also notably amusing. 

After the interval, the main act kicks off with another video, this time from an old wizardly Slartibartfast sort of chap claiming to be sending this message across time from a certain mystical locale of popular legend.  This sets up the premise as implied in the title: man goes into the world to observe and experience the marvels and wonders of exotic locales – coastal Thailand, the deep Rwandan jungle and a wee pond in the north known as Loch Ness – with only with his guides’ counsel, his overactive imagination and the occasional psychoactive beverage to go on. 

Darby’s definitively Kiwi character eschews the cringey ineptitude of his world-famous Murray persona, instead presenting an unapologetically potty-mouthed good keen man, often venturing into quite camp territory speaking both geographically and personality-wise.  There’s still a clear sensitivity to his nature, but he’s been at it long enough now with enough success to provide the fortitude to take us on his wildly unusual ride with confidence. 

His openly blunt dismissal of one determined nonsensical heckler, shouting over a scene-setting anecdote, is met with unanimous appreciation in the form of just about the loudest applause of the evening.

Projected cartoon backdrops literally illustrate the scenes of Rhys’s fantastical exploits, while his irrepressible guest act returns periodically to supply a culturally appropriate musical atmosphere.  The heart of this entertainment, though, is Darby’s ingenious narrative, whereby many a ludicrous notion shared in passing is later revisited to maximum comic effect.  What begins as a casual rave about the personal benefits of his recently adopted skinny jeans style ends up as an epic episodic odyssey, spanning the external globe and the inner depths of a playful, intelligent, somewhat warped mind.  All the makings of a local legend.


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Adventure, After a Time...

Review by Matt Baker 09th May 2014

A park ranger/head of security might not be what you expect as the opening act to Rhys Darby’s 2014 New Zealand Comedy Festival show, but alter ego Bill Napier’s attempt at what he refers to as the easy art of comedy is as amusing as his delivery is dry. From the ridiculous lengths he goes to in researching his first joke, to his revealing poetry, Darby/Napier, in full ranger uniform no less, is yet another example of the former’s ability as a character actor/performer. The same, however, cannot be said about Darby’s supporting act.

It’s understandable that Hedluv + Passman have received mixed reviews in the past. The musical duo’s style is incredibly incongruous with Darby’s act, and it’s not quite clear why they’ve been billed with a comedy show – other than Darby’s generosity at giving them a go in front of such a large crowd. There was an immediate sense of misapprehension from the audience, as we all slowly came to the same realisation following the first song that this was what was on offer for the remainder of act one. While Hedluv + Passman might work in the right setting, The Auckland Civic Theatre as a venue, and the crowd who had come to see Darby, were not it. [More


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Darby at the peak of his powers

Review by Simon Howard 02nd May 2014

Returning to the Wellington stage two years after his This Way to Spaceship tour, Rhys Darby is firmly cemented as one of New Zealand’s biggest comedians. With recent appearances on major US comedies like Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother only heightening his celebrity, a near-capacity opening night crowd is abuzz with expectation. 

The night begins with Bill Napier, Darby’s humorous alter ego park ranger from Pohutukawa Park. He treats the audience to stories of how being a man of adventure makes him the ideal support for the rest of the show. As a way of warming a crowd up, Bill Napier serves his purpose well (his poem about trees is particularly hilarious), leading us nicely into the main support act of the evening.

Hedluv & Passman are Cornish rappers who walk out in a humble manner; a manner which is at odds with the wonderfully bizarre four song set they deliver. Their opening song, ‘Doing it Drexly’, is an undoubted highlight, leading into raps about swimming and nature. Whilst they are met at first with a fairly bemused response, their energy and lyrics soon win the crowd over, leading into a final number which has the entire audience up on their feet dancing along.

Passman is captivating with his wacky dance moves and Ron Burgundy looks. They are so unique that it is perhaps unfair to compare them to anyone, but there are definitely elements of ‘Flight of the Conchords’ in their performance. 

After a short break we are shown a wacky video introduction of Darby as an old man delivering a message from the long-lost city of Atlantis. Striding out onto the stage to large applause, Darby’s brand of physical humour is in full effect throughout his polished ninety-minute set. From his early material on thieves and skinny jeans through to his stories about encountering gorillas in Rwanda and going to Loch Ness, this is a show which boasts plenty of notable laughs and set pieces assisted by a large projector screen and musical accompaniment from Hedluv & Passman. 

Some of the best parts of the show are when Darby goes off on tangents, saying and doing things he obviously wasn’t intending to but running with it regardless and seeing how far he can take it. A superb example of this comes when he describes being busy in his laundry and his hand movements resemble that of a Rubik’s cube being solved. The results are almost always hilarious.

His material about the whimsical challenges and amusing quirks of his marriage feel especially refreshing and real, something which it would be great to see more of in future shows.   

On the whole though, a Rhys Darby show is one of pure escapism. If you are willing to go along for the adventure with him, you won’t be disappointed. This is a comedian at the peak of his powers and clearly having fun with it. The addition of the Cornish rappers Hedluv & Passman adds an extra layer to the key comedic set pieces in the show, providing a musical accompaniment which allows Darby to shine.

The conclusion to the show, with nods to his most celebrated impression, is extremely fulfilling and ties together many of the seemingly random stories we had previously been told. It all adds up to a crazy and enjoyable two hours of entertainment.


Rob Stewart May 2nd, 2014

I'm very surprised by Simon Howard's glowing review, and have to wonder whether he is in the employ of Mr Darby, or simply didn't attend the same show I did last night.  Unfortunately. my view of the evening was quite different. 

Bill Napier was a promising prelude, but the poem to trees was hardly hilarious.  It would have earnt a Year 9 student a B-.  

Hedluv and Passman were, without doubt, the worst excuse for a "comedy" duo I have ever had the misfortune to sit through.  Skinney white boys rapping can be funny, but this was just lame.  Passman could look like a Ron Burgandy if you're being kind.  To me he just looked like a sad 1970's porn star without the body to match.  At least Ron was funny.  If I was Brett or Jermaine I'd be insulted with the comparison to Flight of the Conchords.  Jumping around stage in a jockstrap isn't funny, it's just weird.  

So with the bar set so low, it was going to be easy for the star of the show to soar over it and demonstrate how real Kiwi comedy is done, right?  Well, it should have been.  And as a Rhys Darby fan for a long time I was hoping it would be, but Mr Darby tripped over the bar rather than clearing it easily in my view.  There were elements of the classic comedy that Darby is known and loved for, but the warning signs were there when he resorted to "funny stories about things my wife says".  The show ended on a very underwhelming note.  Yes, all of the various lines of thought were drawn together, but it seemed forced, obvious, and as if Mr Darby didn't really believe it was worth the $49 price of entry.  

Unfortunately it seemed to me that Mr Adventure got lost and that this is a man past his useby date.  

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