Rhys Mathewson in The Best $18 You’ll Ever Spend

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

06/05/2009 - 09/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


In his fourth year of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Rhys Mathewson presents his first one hour solo stand up show. As one of the brightest up and coming comedians, Mathewson is at the forefront of the newest generation of kiwi comics, and is ready to impress at this year’s festival.

Such youthful ambition can be seen in the show’s title, "The Best $18 You’ll Ever Spend." In a world obsessed with the economy and having money, New Zealand Comedy Guild Award winner and multiple nominee, Mathewson presents hilarious stories of having none. This in part comes from the fact that he is still a full time student of Auckland University.

The price number is significant too, as Mathewson is only eighteen years of age. Don’t let that put you off, this young man already has 3 years of comedy experience under his belt and many achievements to his name, such as appearing on both Campbell Live and Close Up, opening for kiwi comedy titans Brendhan Lovegrove and Dai Henwood in the thriving metropolis of Hamilton, and being fondly known to his comedy elders as "King of the Chumps."

Starting out as a member of the festival’s "Class Comedians" programme in 2006, Mathewson will be giving something back this year with a show that is true value for money. At only $18 for an hour jam packed with laughs, you would be crazy not to see the show. You could call Mathewson the Mad Butcher of comedy.

Dates:  Wed 6 – Sat 9 May, 10pm
Venue:  The Basement, Lower Greys Ave
Tickets:  $18 Adults, $15 Conc.
Bookings:  Ticketek: 0800 TICKETEK

1hr, no interval

Priceless charm and chutzpah

Review by Nik Smythe 07th May 2009

It’s a well-worn tradition in standup comedy to broach issues of topical interest.  In this production young Rhys Mathewson generally prefers to broach more historical issues, like Footloose and Happy Days and World War II.  But within the conceptual infrastructure of the keen 18 year old’s opus-to-date is an issue very much headline news right now: the economy.

So, in order to track the integrity of the bold claim that this will indeed be the best value we will ever get for $18*, Rhys has devised a system whereby every solid quip that gets a big laugh is worth a dollar, and every gag that misses the mark = a dollar off. 

Employing the assistance of an audience volunteer (awesome selection but you had to be there) to slap on/remove dollar signs on a velcro display board, Mathewson takes us through his personal execution of those other standup staples: politics, religion and sex.  There’s a 50c for halfway type jokes, and noteworthy hecklers also receive a dollar (sign). 

The ingenuity of the concept is enhanced considerably by the fact that Mathewson abides by the singular golden rule of standup: he’s funny.  Early on he seems concerned he’ll reach the $18 before the show’s half over.  Then he starts waffling a bit and takes down a handful of dollar signs in self-disgust, and before we know it the hour’s almost up and he’s asking permission to run late (a unanimous affirmative – yay for ten o’clock shows!). 

The flamboyant finale cannot be described without spoilage, nor evoked in words to any level of justice.  Rhys’ natural wit is proven when he stumbles several times over a piece of a story, gives up and skips to the cheap punchline, bringing the house down and scoring a dollar.

From accusing Barack Obama of plagiarizing Bob the Builder, to offering suggestions to make the Bible more exciting and raise it’s placing on the Whitcoulls top 100, Mathewson skirts on the edge of acceptable taste but glides on through with sheer charm and chutzpah  He’ll go far.

*Disclaimer: I of course didn’t spend $18, as one of the perks of this gig, i.e. the perk, is free admission.   If I were to I attempt to calculate the value therein I suppose I would divide the ticket price by the hours spent writing the review to ascertain whether or not it’s good value (about 2 hours = just below minimum wage).  In this instance it’s a pleasure to comment upon anyway, so it’s like being ‘paid’ to enjoy myself. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 




The Invisible Reviewer May 10th, 2009

Rhys' stage presence is magnetic, charming and defies logic. How is it that this young man at age 18, possesses the comedic dexterity of someone 30 years in the industry? The show "The best $18 you'll ever spend..." in concept and execution is a comedic masterpiece and Rhys Mathewson is the artist. I sat in the crowd (at the back - off to the left - behind his parents) and was thoroughly enthralled as he used his voice as a brush, dipped it in humour and used the audience as his canvass. It is blatantly apparent that this young comic is destined for bigger and better things and I seriously doubt if we will ever be so fortunate to see him for less than $20 ever again. If you missed the show...shame on you, keep an eye on the Classic Comedy Bar to see when he is next booked in and make the effort.

Steve Wrigley May 8th, 2009

I went to this last night, using my performers pass. Honestly this show only has two more nights if you don't go you better hope Rhys does a return season. He is genuine clown and filled my mouth laughter!
Rhys I owe you $18.

Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council