Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

04/05/2013 - 04/05/2013

Founders Theatre, Hamilton

01/05/2013 - 01/05/2013

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

02/05/2013 - 02/05/2013

Opera House, Wellington

03/05/2013 - 03/05/2013

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

30/04/2013 - 30/04/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

ON TOUR IN 2013 


Over the last 10 years the ‘5 Star Comedy Preview’ has become one of the most eagerly awaited highlights kicking off the annual NZ International Comedy Festival in Auckland. 

In 2013 producer, productions, is taking The 5 Star Comedy On Tour for the first time to Tauranga, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and back to the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna from 30th April. 

The show features 5 world class comedians in one big 2 hour show providing comedy fans across the North Island with an even bigger International Comedy Festival experience. 

For the guest comedians it is an opportunity to also experience more of New Zealand often providing some fresh perspectives and material for their own live shows. 

Who’s Who in the 2013 5 Star Comedy Tour:

Tom Gleeson (Australia) – One of Melbourne’s finest and a popular trans-Tasman guest on TV3’s top rating show 7 Days.

Markus Birdman (England) – A veteran of 5 Edinburgh Fringe fests – “the all-round package; witty, controversial, hip, topical and silly” – The BBC

James Acaster (England) – 2012 Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee – “one of the sharpest comic minds to have emerged in recent years.” The Guardian UK

Andrew Bird (England) – “Absolutely charming. A great storyteller. Funny, likeable and effortless” Time Out UK

Stuart Goldsmith (England) – Definitely one to watch following 3 critically acclaimed solo shows over the last 3 Edinburgh Fringe Fests.

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival


Tauranga – Baycourt Theatre – Tue 30 Apr – Book at Ticket Direct

Hamilton – Founders Theatre – Wed 1 May – Book at Ticketek

New Plymouth – TSB Showplace – Thu 2 May – Book at Ticketmaster

Wellington – The Opera House – Fri 3 May – Book at Ticketek

Takapuna – Bruce Mason Centre – Sat 4 May – Book at Ticketmaster

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to  

Polished, high quality, very funny show

Review by Kathryn van Beek 05th May 2013

The first of tonight’s five stars is our host Andrew Bird who warms us up by complimenting the Tourettes-inducing New Zealand scenery before re-enacting a dramatic train standoff between Justin Bieber fans and non-Beliebers. There is a large English contingent in the audience tonight, which is no surprise given that Bird and three of his fellow comedians are British. 

Stuart Goldsmith takes the stage and points out some differences between New Zealand and England – notably our sad-looking plug sockets. Goldsmith also does a fine line in physical comedy, particularly when demonstrating the crab-like walk of a ‘geezer’ and when acting out said geezer’s advice when it comes to negotiating a threesome without seeming gay.

Seven Days regular Tom Gleeson gets a bit of a groan when the crowd hears his broad Aussie accent, but he soon wins them over with his sad but true stories of what passes for entertainment in middle age. He ruins sex for everyone in the audience by threatening to appear like a chanting, floppy-faced apparition in the bedroom tonight, and finishes with a hysterical re-enactment of the emotions he faced when his baby girl was immunized that sees him running down the street screaming like a deranged kid on K2.

It’s after the interval that things start to get a bit weird. Gangly, ginger-haired James Acaster strides out onto stage and one person in the crowd cannot stop laughing. “There’s not a lot you can do when you’re this naturally funny to one person,” he quips, but the laugher turns heckler and calls out, “That’s not funny.”

Acaster’s set begins a downwards spiral as he alternates between baiting his heckler, Jacquie, and valiantly continuing his routine, all the while looking as though he’d rather be cleaning the Danny Doolans Bar urinal with his tongue. But he’s not the only person suffering at the hands of Jacquie. “She’s ruined my life too,” yells her partner.

Markus Birdman follows and struts onto stage with a ‘Jacquie’s not going to mess with me’ swagger, and lays into a polished set about swearing, parenthood and cracking the code of school reports before laying into Jacquie so hard she’s not just burned, she’s incinerated.

Four out of five of these male comedians share concerns about ageing, parenthood, romance, middle-aged sex and house prices. They’re all fantastic comedians but some more diversity in the line-up would add another dimension to the show.

Andrew Bird closes the evening by saying, “We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve seen someone’s marriage disintegrate before our very eyes.” There may have been a bump in the road but the five stars of the International Comedy Tour have delivered a polished, high quality and very funny show.


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Big laughs and big contrasts

Review by Gabrielle Beran 04th May 2013

The set up is like a bad joke: four Englishmen and an Australian walk into the Opera House… Fortunately for The Five Star Comedy Tour, the jokes are anything but. 

Host Stuart Goldsmith knows how to endear an audience with observational jokes about New Zealand life along with a healthy dose of flattery. To his delight, the first heckle occurs twenty seconds into the show and he manages to get the audience to put their arms around their neighbours resulting in, “Not the beginning any of us imagined.”

The first act is friendly and tame Andrew Bird, whose quintessentially English quips make him an appreciative tourist and he even dares to make a joke about Hamilton. Mostly stories about life in England go down well but some of the subtleties are lost on the mostly New Zealand audience. Bird’s half hour set flies by, covering the topics of domestic life, relationships, marriage, parenthood and then venturing into the areas of sex and religion where there are a few shock tactics to round it out.

Australian Tom Gleeson addresses the same life stages as Bird, but gives them a harsher, more graphic treatment. His ‘painful truth’ attitude elicits nods of agreement from the surrounding audience members, particularly when he bemoans his aging and sex life. His material is very narcissistic and at times offensive. His strongest moment is when he combines the latter with his wit to question religion. While his words may not be terribly clever, he has an effective physical component to his act. 

James Acaster shuffles onstage looking like he got lost leaving the library. The character that he builds up of a shy, quirky young man elicits sympathetic sounds from the audience, yet is played to his comic advantage with lots of his humour coming from breaking the audience’s assumptions. He has an absolutely original repertoire, including a brilliant segment on the board game Twister.

In complete contrast, Marcus Birdman explodes with infectious energy, cutting a figure of slick hair, black clothes and arms of tattoos. At times he does not seem to have figured out the line between bad taste and big laughs as he forays into the now familiar territory of parenthood and relationships. He carries many of his jokes through his set, which keeps it tight. Birdman is certainly comfortable and amiable onstage, even if a few of his jokes are not. 

Goldsmith seamlessly links the show together, building on the strong rapport that he created at the opening, with clever anecdotes. He hits the right tone with the audience and shows how very funny he is.

The Five Star Comedy Tour is one of big laughs and at times, big contrasts. It leaves you exhausted from laughing and grateful that these internationals decided come all the way to Wellington.


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