Cavern Club, 22 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

11/03/2021 - 13/03/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Suit and Ties is the new hour of comedy from award winning and Billy T Nominee Li’i Alaimoana, bringing his fear of wearing suits and his ties to the security industry during his time as a Bouncer during the 2000’s. 

Cavern Club, 22 Allen Street, Te Aro, Wellington 
Thur 11 – Sat 13 March 2021
$25 | $20 | $18

Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

A musical magician with varied material

Review by Francesca Brice 13th Mar 2021

The Cavern Club sets the scene for Li’i Alaimoana. A low-ceilinged basement venue with an intimacy that is perfect to connect with an audience. There’s nowhere to hide and Li’i Alaimoana wants that. It’s his farewell from stand-up comedy; he’s retiring.

He shares stories about himself, his family and life. It comes from his centre of identity – that of a Samoan heterosexual male. Li’i speaks directly to us – he could be a motivational speaker with the powerful connectiveness he brings in his skilled oratory style. We meet his gaze as he tells us of his experience and journey with being nominated for the Billy T James Award. It’s quite a serious narrative as we learn it’s not all easy for a heterosexual male out there, now that the LGBTQ’s and non-binary comedians have hit the scene.

I think I’m not his target audience and I don’t feel too much sympathy for the heterosexual male’s loss of dominance in the world of stand-up comedy. I do however feel empathetic for his loss of family and friends, a progressive yearly event he tells us, these losses, and we listen and feel honoured have this shared. Family is important and we learn of his wife, a tour de force in the real world, and I wish she’d stand up if she’s in the audience. They share seven children and there’s an intake of collective breath; over-population by Kiwi standards but just a start in Samoan life we’re told. Sighs of relief! 

He references racism from the viewpoint of a Samoan and he’s warm, funny and emotional in the narrative.  His talent as a musician is awesomeness at its best. Out comes the guitar and his voice takes us away. We willingly take his hand and follow him into any musical genre he wishes to express, however he wishes to express it!  Inside the stream of collective thought, I feel ‘this guy is a musical magician’. He’s got that voice that turns you inside out. 

Is it because I’m not a part of Li’I’s demographic that I cannot appreciate the musical finale: his own original song entirely about men and their relationship with their penis? It’s a long one. Quite a few verses. Who would have thought, I muse.  When he finishes with a song to women that is only a one liner and an outdated one at that, I feel disappointed. He can do better, I think.

There’s much applause and a standing ovation as he wraps up, and as the reviewer who is not the demographic, I think Li’i Alaimoana has undoubtedly been an influencer with his hard-fought journey to become who he is today. 


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