Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

15/05/2012 - 19/05/2012

NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

Production Details

Wellington Comedian Sarah Harpur Goes Scien-terrific  

Sarah Harpur is a philosopher, scientist and business guru.  Just because she has no ‘qualifications’ in these subjects, does not mean she is not an expert in all fields.  Be prepared to be shocked and awed-out by conspiracy theories, scientific hypothesis and heaps of brainy-as shit.

Sarah’s new show, Harpur’s Bizarre, is loaded with scientific goodies:

Theory one: Pants are for losers

Theory two: Firefighters are over-diversifying their skill set.

Theory three: Whales should stop whinging and grow some legs.

Evolution. Revolution. Cancer The Musical. Harpur’s Bizarre!

2011 AMP Scholarship recipient, Sarah Harpur has performed her delightfully macabre comedy at New Zealand International Comedy Festival, as well as Adelaide and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. She has won numerous awards for her comedy, including 2009 National Raw Comedy Quest, 2011 Best Comedy at Dunedin Fringe, and Best Marketing at 2009 NZ Fringe.  Sarah is sometimes brilliant, often silly, always bizarre. Please Note: Audience Members will be expected to enter a state of willing disbelief.

“Every joke hits the mark, she is in control and she knows it.” – Maryanne Cathro – Theatreview

“An indomitable bundle of enthusiasm” –TVNZ

“Sarah Harpur brings an infectious, slightly clownish glee to her roles.” – John Smythe – Theatreview 

“a delinquent sunbeam” – Kate Blackhurst- Lumiere Reader 

As part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

Dates:  15 May – 19 May, 7pm
Venue:  The Fringe Bar, cnr Cuba & Vivian Sts, CBD
Tickets:  Adults $16/ Conc. $12/ Groups 6+ $12
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK or
Duration:  1 hour

For a full line up of performances, booking details & more information, visit  


A mix of material

Review by Shannon Friday 16th May 2012

Sarah Harpur does something I hadn’t quite seen in this festival yet.  Yes, she’s a single comedienne up on stage, but there’s a strange vibration running through her show.  She’s playing here with her persona onstage, and while the idea is intriguing, her show as a whole doesn’t quite come together around it. 

The premise of Pants are for Losers and Other Theories is that Sarah Harpur is an expert who has come to expound on many topics.  Backed by a PowerPoint, Harpur talks about more than a dozen topics, including Pants, Mathmatics (sic), Political Studies, and Theology. 

The show works when she plunges into her role as expert.  Her plays on language are particularly acute, epitomised by some late re-incorporations of earlier jokes, and the use of PowerPoint allows for some great visual gags, especially early in the evening.

I struggle throughout the show, however, to find the punch lines. There are some really funny ideas – Greek gods we need today, for example – but the constant shifts in topic mean that too much time is spent introducing and explaining, with too little payoff.

It feels like Sarah just doesn’t have enough material to fill the entire hour.  While Pants are for Losers starts strong, about halfway through the show the jokes descend into a pattern of “oh, well, isn’t that silly” kind of observations.  It gets old quickly, and I find myself counting down how many topics are left in the evening’s lineup.   

I also find the audio in the show quite uncomfortable. The Fringe Bar is a fairly small venue, but the microphone’s volume is turned up quite high.  Paired with the lack of a microphone cover and Harpur’s tendency to hold it directly in front of her mouth, it means that the audience gets blasted frequently with pops and plosives.

The last bit of the night, a condensed musical sung from the point of view of a cancerous melanoma, is a familiar tactic from several other shows in the festival.  It’s a great idea that starts well, though again it seems a bit long, continuing well after the joke has paid off.  


GreenLaughs May 16th, 2012

I don't agree at all.

It certainly wasn't your standard smutty-joke filled, differnce between men & women gag filled hour.

But haven't we seen and heard enough of that kind of thing?

I thought her show was fun, good natured and obviously ironic.

I enjoyed it and so did my work mates. In fact one of them has already bought more tickets because he wants to bring his wife on the weekend.

Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion...I'm just saying I don't agree with yours.

I laughed a lot.

Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council