Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

05/10/2017 - 07/10/2017

Production Details

Sassy best friend (sas-ee best frend)
1. A sidekick to the main character in a romantic comedy;
2. not conventionally attractive, quirky, hard to love;
3. sometimes not white, often gay.

Off the back of a sell out season at Edinburgh Fringe and NZ International Comedy Festival, Rose returns with a show inspired by her favourite film heroes and terrible taste in movies. Sassy Best Friend is about friendship, finding yourself and giving up on your dreams.

Praise for Sassy Best Friend:
✮✮✮✮ – The Guardian, UK
✮✮✮✮ – Telegraph, UK
✮✮✮✮✮ – Edinburgh Festivals Magazine, UK
✮✮✮✮✮ – Three Weeks, UK
✮✮✮✮✮ – Fest, UK

Basement Theatre, Auckland
Thursday 5 – Saturday 7 October 2017
ADULT: $25.00
CONCESSION (Gold Card carriers, Equity members, Students – all with valid ID): $23.00
CHEAP WEDNESDAY: (Limited available at this price): $23.00

Credit Card: 2.50%
Bank Transfer: $1.50
Online Eftpos: 1.80%

Age restriction R13.
Occasional language.

Theatre ,

1 hr

An outstanding and thought-provoking comedian

Review by Leigh Sykes 06th Oct 2017

A confession: I used to work with Rose Matafeo’s Aunt, and many years ago I displayed a poster for a show that Rose was in but didn’t get to see it. So, despite having a long (but very tenuous) connection by association, this is the first opportunity I have to see Rose perform live.

As we enter the theatre, she is welcoming us with a label maker in hand, offering to make labels for seemingly random audience members, as she bops to the relentlessly upbeat music. Throughout the show I muse on the label maker as it sits on the standard stand-up comedy side table, and – much as Rose cleverly does with elements of the show – I’ll come back to that later. 

The show begins at high speed, as Rose asks us if we like rom-coms before galloping through descriptions of some typical examples of the genre. She tells us she has realised she neatly fits into the ‘sassy best friend’ role in these movies, and specifies why. A trait that’s also common to all stand-up comedians leads her to set up a neat thread through the rest of the show of hitting on Brian in the front row, using many well-worn (but in her hands fresh and funny) tropes including Mills and Boon romance plots, and finding common interests in every answer that Brian obligingly gives.

Riffs on her teenage-self attempting to find an identity (helped or hindered by her parents’ love of slogan t-shirts), the impossibility of fitting into the personality types suggested in every teenage magazine, the trials and tribulations of high school shows and her love of Michael Jackson raise plenty of laughs, as we are swept along by the upbeat energy of the performance.

Although many of the sections may appear to meander along without much connection, there is actually plenty of craft on display here. This is most apparent in the section on the effects of birth control, where the line between hilarious and real is so finely judged that we laugh and recoil from the severity of the situation at one and the same time. There is real intent in this section and the message hits home as Rose enacts conversations she wishes health care professionals had conducted with her, as well as using a brief but pointed sketch about contraceptive technologists to point out how utterly ludicrous it seems for men to refuse to wear condoms because ‘they feel weird’, when weighed against the damage that chemical contraception can do to women. 

I really enjoy the way that the show balances laugh-out-loud and thought-provoking. There is plenty here that resonates after the show ends, and much that still makes me giggle as I recall the impressions near the end of the show, some of which have me crying with laughter.

The craft in the show is again made apparent in the way that Matafeo connects material from much earlier in the show to the end. The label maker is still on the table as she exits, and I realise that perhaps the main theme of the show has been in plain sight all the way through. Rose Matafeo may label herself as the sassy best friend, but her astute and often sympathy-inducing observations can help us to question the labels that society might impose on us. Just because we seem to fit a label, that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. Rose may feel she is the ‘sassy best friend’, but from my point of view she is also an outstanding and thought-provoking comedian.


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