Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

12/02/2016 - 27/02/2016

NZ Fringe Festival 2016 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

New Zealand’s first live cartooning show  

Sketch/Comedy III sees some of the capital’s top stand up comedians, poets and improvisers combine with one of New Zealand’s sharpest cartoonists for a spontaneous mix of stand up and visual comedy. 

Sketch/Comedy is the creation of cartoonist/designer Hadley Donaldson. With no rehearsal Hadley illustrates jokes and stories on the fly, with just a laptop and a projector to help him. The performers have no idea what will be drawn, and Hadley has no idea what they’re going to say, combining to make a unique never before seen show.

Hadley was the lead illustrator on Picture This! in the 2013 Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival and discovered he had a knack for the rapid off the cuff visual riffing involved. He worked with many comedians across more than 40 shows, including Pete Holmes (The Pete Holmes Show), Michael Che (The Daily Show, SNL), Paul Provenza (The Aristocrats, The Green Room w/ Paul Provenza, Set List), Ronnie Chieng, Claire Hooper and many more.

Our MC is the award winning Jonny Potts. A veteran of the NZ International Comedy Festival, in 2015 Jonny won best comedy and best writing in the NZ Fringe Festival and received a special invitation to take part in the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Each night features a changing line up of performers. With improv, comedy, poetry and cartooning all mixed together, no two shows will be the same. 

Sketch/Comedy III
Fringe Bar, Allen St
Friday 12 & Saturday 13 February, 8.30pm
Wednesday 17 February, 8.30pm
The Sketch/Comedy late show
Saturday 27 February, 10pm  
(content may offend)
Ticketing through

Theatre , Comedy ,

4 shows - check details

Enjoyable power-play

Review by Ashleigh Pope 13th Feb 2016

The ‘Sketch’ in Sketch Comedy comes from the gimmick of the illustrator, Gerard Paapu, sketching the commentary of tonight’s comedians: Alice Brine, Adam Chown, Adam Wright and Rachel Rouge. This often takes the form of figurative, caricature-like interpretations aping the comedian, sometimes literally. 

Jerome Chandrahasen, the show’s MC, immediately captures the attention of the audience with his kind yet questioning tone. He frames us as the stars of the dreaded ‘audience participation’ section, rather than the butt of the joke; he validates our existence by making the most mundane aspects of life seem riveting.

To begin with, the audience errs on the side of caution as to what they reveal about themselves, but as we gain confidence in the dynamic and the various comedians, we enjoy watching our lives illustrated and becoming a part of the show.

At times the exchange between the performer and illustrator generates some questionable content, most often while attempting to one-up each other’s unbidden offers and competing for the last laugh. Gerard, through his illustrations, flips the traditional jokes on their head, all while bringing out the best (or worst) of our primal tendencies.  

The performer becomes the unintended punchline of the joke when they target society as a whole. At times, the audience does not know who to pay attention to – the comedian or the illustrator. Some jokes fall a bit flat with the set-up, though this skirmish of wit between illustrator and comedian works well for some performers who know how to return fire. 

The friendly rebuttal between the comedian and illustrator is almost consistent throughout, until the final act. Alice Brine finally acknowledges the distracting nature of the images and makes her inability to focus on her set part of her set. She improvises, changing her set to exploit an unfamiliar stage dynamic, confronting the illustrator’s “Comic Sans” drawings, and swiftly implores the illustrator to up his game. 

Overall, the illustration gimmick works well in the show. The audience enjoys the power-play and seeing the comedians forced to improvise their sets in response. It will be interesting to see how the next batch of comedians handle Gerard and his illustrating antics. 


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