Stella Graham: Karma Comedian

Polson Higgs Comedy Club, XII Below Bar, Dunedin

23/03/2011 - 26/03/2011

Dunedin Fringe 2011

Production Details


It takes a brave comedian to place their fate into the hands of the audience. British comedian Stella Graham does just that, in solo stand-up comedy show Karma Comedian debuting at the Dunedin Fringe Festival 2011.

Stella unravels hilarious tales of her own good and bad karma, with a twist.

Each show, an audience member is selected to decide which are the good or bad deeds in her life, by awarding a tick or a cross. By the end of the show, the scores will be tallied to determine her fate.

This makes the show entertainingly interactive; each night will be unique as the audience can change the direction of the show which will keep Stella Graham on her toes.

With side-splitting, colourful anecdotes and one-liners you’ll quote to your friends, this show will be a highlight of the Fringe. It will also feature a few parody songs (which will probably earn crosses on the Scoreboard of Life.)

Stella has performed in the UK and USA from the London Comedy Store to the Los Angeles Comedy Store, as well as New Zealand’s favourite Auckland comedy club, The Classic.

You can subscribe to her comedy podcast, The Comedy Hangover, featuring fellow Brits, Reuben Lee and Danny McChrystal.  

Stella has worked on screen for Juice TV and on-air in radio in England and New Zealand (The Edge, The Rock, More FM and Solid Gold) and also writes comedy sketches. 

In the 2009 New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Stella was the MC for the sold-out show, Full English. She was also nominated Best Newcomer at the 2009 New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards. 

The following year she was in the comedy showcase show; Four Heads, at the 2010 New Zealand International Comedy Festival as well as the MC for Full English 2. 

Don’t miss Karma Comedian. If you attend, good things will come your way. 

Stella Graham:
Karma Comedian
Polson Higgs Comedy Club, XII Below – 12 Moray Place, Dunedin.
23-26 March at 7pm.
Price: $15 or $12 conc. 
TicketDirect. Booking fees may apply.   

Cruising on funny

Review by Patrick Davies 24th Mar 2011

Stella Graham is a Brit from Coventry who’s come to NZ to find out if she’s going to hell or not.

The main structure of the show revolves around something that her sister (the doctor, yeah that’s the one), said when she was young – that God has a book and gives you ticks or crosses for everything you do in life and then when you die your final destination is decided by the balance at the end: too many crosses = hell; too many ticks = heaven.

She enlists the help of ‘GOD’ – in this case a guy called John in the audience – to give her the thumbs up/down in gladiatorial style.

From the get-go Stella has a smooth and strong onstage presence, she captures the room with lovely positive energy – she is in control of her own destiny. As she runs through all of her experiences for GOD to judge she is an astute listener, often picking up her own turns of phrase for the comedy – when she swears saying Jesus Christ she stops herself and apologises to GOD.

A large number of laughs come easily from the puns she mines through the show. Coventry is where the now world famous woman who dumped the cat in the bin comes from to which she quips “she really misunderstood the term ‘cat litter’.” These are so artfully done they don’t appear planned and are fresh gems which make her very appealing, even at the sometimes break neck speed of delivery. 

Stella uses a laptop (was this a prerequisite for entry this year?) to deliver her versions of song lyrics to karaoke versions. Sugerbabes Overload becomes a tribute to sugar; Sixpence None the Richer’s Kiss Me becomes Fist Me, much to the disdain of one woman in the audience which becomes a good riff for Stella to work off, and return to through the rest of the act. (Was it my imagination or was everyone near the front English?)

Using images to illuminate her lyrics would have been better if it didn’t feel like she hadn’t finished the task – there are some great visuals but not enough.

Being British – well half British, half Sri Lankan – she has much material relating to her encounter with our places, language and people. She lets her one liners sink in, such as when questioning the role of Dick Smith in a world where we have lock smiths. The growth of the chuckle well worth the wait.

Towards the end we return to the laptop to play “What the fuck’s going on here???” She has taken pictures from the Karma Sutra, sections are blacked out which are then slowly revealed to be – something quite different to what you thought. The she rounds off with another song, as the basis for the ultimate good deed (go see the show if you want to know). She leaves the stage and the video tells us her ultimate fate. 

A good solid show from a polished performer, most of the time. While her material is funny, at times we arrive at the climax of a joke or anecdote as if there’s more to come. Like her songs, some of her material just seemed to stop rather than finish. This gave the show the feeling that once we got to cruising altitude it rather stayed the same level of funny.

The further on we got on, the less it seemed related to the structure of the ticks/crosses, but then suddenly she would ask for her judgment form GOD. So I did leave feeling a little like it hadn’t fulfilled the promise I had felt at the beginning of the show. However I must say I still had a good time. I felt that on the nights she’s flying she would be a great night out. 
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