Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

03/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

17/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Adults laugh an average of five times a day, but kids laugh over 150 times! Stand-Up For Kids is guaranteed to blow your laugh quota and theirs. International and local comedians will create giggles galore for your little monsters. 

Don’t miss this comedy showcase of the funniest family-friendly material and monster mayhem.

Saturday 3 May – Hosted by Frehd the Clown with Rhys Mathewson, James Acaster and Jamie Bowen.

Adults at kids prices – Hands up for stand-up! 

Recommended for 5-10 yrs (and their families!)  

“This brilliant show was amazing – and guess what? You get to relax and have a good time! So get up and come in!” – Hineuwera, Tamaki Primary  


Dates: Sat 26 April, 2pm &
Sat 3, 10 & 17 May, 2pm 
Venue: Loft at Q Theatre
Tickets: $19.50* service fees may apply
Bookings:  09 309 9771 


Dates:  Sat 17 May, 2pm
Venue:  Hannah Playhouse 
Tickets:  $19.50* service fees may apply 
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

2pm Saturdays only

A good time with some lessons about what kids prefer

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 05th May 2014

New Zealand Comedy Trust* is listed as the producer of this ninety minute, four part show and the responses from the full house would suggest it is more than a minor hit with the smaller members of the audience at least.   

Introduced and linked together by the wonderful – and magical – Fred the Clown, the show features three experienced stand-up comedians doing what they do best (James Acaster, Rhys Mathewson, and Jamie Bowen) with material honed especially for the 5 – 10 age range. At times it was not so much a show of ‘what comes next’ but more along the lines of ‘what’s already happened’ but more of that later. 

Fred the Clown warms us up in a somewhat conventional way by asking us “How are you?” and having us repeat our reply until she’s happy that we’re all awake. I remain somewhat baffled as to why, when asked “How are you?” a group of 100 plus adults will, in unison, reply at the tops of their lungs Yeah!” Not to worry, having established that we were all feeling totally “Yeah!”, Fred shares a story about belonging to the ‘Magic Trick of the Month Club’ and offers to show us the latest trick having established that “Yeah!” we all wanted to see it.

‘The Amazing, Mystical Disappearing Banana’ turns out to be a very excellent trick indeed that I will resist telling you about in case you totter along to the final show, same time, same place, next weekend. ‘The Amazing, Mystical Disappearing Banana’ trick is worth the ticket price on its own. 

James Acaster is the first stand-up comedy artiste and the kids quickly establish that he’s 29 years old. ‘Quickly’ is perhaps not the best word to describe the journey to establishing Acaster’s age because kid guesses ranging from 20 to 105 are put forward but we get there in the end after which Acaster continues on his theme of “you ask me any question about life or about myself and I’ll answer it”. The kids eventually identify England as his place of origin having circuited the solar system a number of times to finally get there.   

Acaster, with his abode finally identified as a farm, teaches the kids how to speak cow while on all fours and does his own magic trick – a smart little year 5 thumb dislocation number – before concluding his set by responding to an audience request for him to skip with a microphone cable. He succeeds, and the sigh of relief from the Q Theatre technical staff is audible. 

Acaster is a likeable fellow with a quirky sense of humour who goes down well with the kids while still managing to keep the adults in the frame as well. 

Fred then does some tricks with a cattle lasso and further endears herself to everyone in the house. Like Acaster, Fred the Clown is immensely likeable and it’s a clever ploy to have some colour (and some girliness) in the show. 

Next up is Rhys Mathewson who takes as his premise the phrase “Have you ever done a pooh so big that it …?” (fill in the gap), examples being “ … that it made you feel hungry” and “… that if it had a door you could live in it’. Everyone knows that kids like bodily functions and, while the gag goes down really well and Mathewson extemporises on his faecal charade, he possibly spends a bit too much time on it and some of the smaller kids get a bit bored. He recovers them, however, with a lovely – and very funny – story about his school disco and ends on a high note.

Mathewson is a skilled physical comedian with a delicious voice and he uses these abilities to the maximum. 

Fred makes a welcome return with a trick featuring a paper bag and a bottle of tomato sauce, the denouement of which is the topic du jour all the way home after the show. 

The final, and perhaps ‘top of the bill’, comedian of the afternoon is the shaven-headed, bearded Jamie Bowen. Like Fred, Acaster and Mathewson before him, Bowen is seriously likeable and we closely follow each and every nuance of his clever set. He has poems (delivered in a faux Spanish accent) that include some witty limericks, and some great physical gags, the best being the one about his Granddad’s ears. But the smash ’em up, car crash conclusion is the hit of the day and a fantastic way to end the show. 

Not a criticism but more of an observation, ninety minutes is a long show, especially for the littlies (and the smartarses), and Bowen’s work is affected somewhat by kids referring back to Acaster’s set and wanting to ask – or simply call out – repeats of the questions examined earlier in the show. They’ve been given permission after all and I suspect they want to interact more in that way. No disrespect to Bowen, he handles it expertly; just one of the trickier things about performing for kids.  

The eleven year old who has taken us to Stand Up for Kids is of a similar opinion and, while he’s had a really good time, he says he got distracted by the calling out towards the end of the show and felt less engaged because he wasn’t able to interact directly with the performers. He’s aware that stand-up and improvisation are seriously different animals but his astute observation is that kids like to do stuff rather than sit, listen and interject. Is there a lesson there? I wonder. 

The response from the adults at the end of the show is all-embracing and that suggests that they’ve had a seriously good time too. Certainly the performers are all of top quality with Fred the Clown the winner on the day. 
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*‘The Big Idea’ website tells us that the “New Zealand Comedy Trust runs the NZ International Comedy Festival. The Trust was established in 1995 with the aim of providing a platform for New Zealand comedy in all its forms and to showcase the best of international comedy to New Zealand audiences.” Big ups to them because the NZ International Comedy Festival has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is now a secure, regular and welcome part of the New Zealand performing arts calendar. Celebrations for the 20th anniversary in 2015 will no doubt be lavish in revelry and wild carousing.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council