Rhys Mathewson in The Best $18 You’ll Ever Spend
06/05/2009 - 09/05/2009
CHEAP LAUGHS AT THE NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
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.
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