The Best Man Show

two/fiftyseven, 2/57 Willis Street (entrance located at 70 Victoria Street), Wellington

07/03/2024 - 09/03/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Mark Vigeant - writer, performer
Joanna Simmons - director

The Best Man Show is an interactive and darkly hilarious wedding reception where Mark Vigeant plays the Groom’s brother Paul, who has been asked to give the toast at an untraditional polyamorous commitment ceremony.

It starts out fun and silly, with your typical masculine roasting and ribbing – and slowly devolves into a drunken existential crisis where Paul tries desperately to understand what it means to love, but can’t get over his own toxic masculinity to recognize how lonely he is.

Throughout the show, Mark recruits audience members to play the various guests at the wedding reception: the groom Charles, and his two brides Carrie and Paige who he gets to play against each other; his daughter Ella who comes onstage to sing a song; his Dad who is deeply disappointed in him, his mother who can’t stop crying; his wife who he doesn’t get along with; and of course a photographer to document everything and post it to Instagram.

It culminates in a melancholic and beautiful dance performance, and leaves the audience impressed and unsettled.

Mark Vigeant is an energetic, physical, silly character actor, writer and comedian based in Los Angeles. His new work The Best Man Show is set to make its world premiere at the New Zealand Fringe Festival in March.

His deeply personal solo show Mark Pleases You had a critically-acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2023 after winning “Best of the Fest” at the San Diego International Fringe Festival, as well as the “Hollywood Producer’s Encore Award” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival that same year. The show was given a platinum medal by and 5 stars by

Mark has been described as a “frantic and enthusiastic performer,” and “a comic cheetah.” says he “takes the stage like a Tasmanian devil, unleashing a live wire, fireball performance that will leave you in awe.”

Level 2, 57 Willis Street

Thursday 07 March 9:00pm
Friday 08 March 9:00pm
Saturday 09 March 9:00pm


Performed by Mark Vigeant

Joanna Simmons

Clown , Comedy , Solo , Theatre ,

60 minutes

Offers slick, safe, fun, bonkers interactive joy

Review by Tara McEntee 09th Mar 2024

I saw Mark Vigeant’s show Mark Pleases You earlier in the Fringe Festival on a whim; my friends and I were looking for something to see and thought we should support an out-of-town artist in a slightly awkward time slot. Boy was it the right choice; it was spectacular. Physical, funny, heart-warming and energising. So, when Mark mentioned he had another show in the Fringe, his debut showing of his new piece, The Best Man Show, I was thrilled. 

2/57 Willis is a co-working space that transforms into a venue for theatre and art in the evenings. On this Friday night, the space is set up like a wedding venue: tables with numbers on them, a vial of bubble mixture for each guest, stacks of presents and a big sign stating “Love Conquers All”. 

Mark, drunkenly lurking in the back of the space, opens the show with a ramble to his pal back home on the phone; he’s at his little brother’s weird polyamorous commitment ceremony-cum-wedding, and he’s really not on board with it. However, he’s ready to fulfil his brotherly duty and totally crush the best man’s speech.

The whole show is a riot, and yet Mark plays it so seriously and earnestly, never once breaking character from the disparaging, damaged, drunk brother Paul. The show is built on the interactions with the other guests, played by the audience. We meet Charles (the groom), Carrie and Paige (the brides), and a host of other guests including Paul’s long-suffering wife and adorable daughter.

The remarkable thing Mark does is make the interaction feel super safe. It’s a classic trope for any interactive or improv show that audience members are scared of being brought up on stage or called on, but Mark is an absolute master at this. The audience playing the other guests are simply unable to say anything wrong – Mark makes it impossible to mess up, and that is the mark of a truly skilled improviser.

The audience/guests are made to seem funny, witty, fully built out 3D characters. It’s incredible; that is such a difficult thing to do while maintaining the energy of the room, running some of your own tech, and playing a fully built complex and nuanced character – Mark is so outrageously talented.

My partner comments “it’s the most enjoyable cringe I’ve ever experienced, and I loved every second of it.” I can’t help but agree; the setting and the content are awkward and mortifying – there’s nothing worse than a cliche, drunken, uncomfortable speech at a wedding, but Mark makes the experience just so much fun.

It’s a complement and a contrast to Mark Pleases You. In The Best Man Show, Mark is able to showcase other tools in his kete, a basket which is seemingly overflowing with skills.

Overall, the experience is rich and tailored for every audience member. The show offers slick, safe, fun, bonkers, interactive joy. You have one more chance to attend these nuptials before Mark leaves our shores; don’t miss it!   


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A powerful and welcome antidote to the nauseating “Love you bro” beer commercial

Review by Dave Smith 09th Mar 2024

Some many decades ago I was in a sort of bubble gum dance-pop band that played the D+ Hutt Valley circuit. On Friday and Saturday nights for many fruitless years we would service the market for weddings, engagements and 21st jollity in an era when people had more money than sense.  We very speedily reasoned, even the drummer, that there was a canyon of credibility lying between marriages and weddings (the latter being mere crass social rituals from which flowed highly predictable pain along with a new generation of dysfunctional grog-haunted families). Apart from trying to read the telegrams, the main duty of the best man, as I recall it, was to remind the guests not to “drink more piss than your present cost”.

Here we get the LA version of the romance versus love syndrome. Whereas the Hutt versions were mounted in drafty halls with harsh fluorescent lighting in Naenae, the Angelinos can run to a slick cabaret venue with a passable bar and coloured mirror ball fantasies. As in this one, the chances of the union being a second or third time round the clock are pretty high. Last night we were treated to Paul (I think) being subversive best man to his brother “Big Dog” Charlie.

Paul’s mission is simply to attach verbal limpet mines to the underside of this latest marriage, pretty much as he did last time around, and watch the whole thing implode. All to the chagrin of Mom and Dad who clearly favour Big Dog over his bitter and twisted sibling and have funded the wedding charade one more time. In huge stage whispers into a cellphone out back, we open by hearing Paul spelling it all out in gloating prose.

After that, we band of 15 or so are locked into a blizzard of abuse that will take in the venue, the specifically not asked-for boxed presents, the disreputable state of ‘real’ love, the perils of marital sex and ……….; all in a breakneck stream-of-consciousness rant. 

Throughout I sit transfixed in my suburban spoof cabaret seat feeling like that day in the 80s when I thought I was going to a lunchtime concert in town but accidentally wandered into a Tupperware convention (the nearest thing we had in those days to a KGB induction course). They too shouted “lock the doors” very much in the way NASA does when they have lost a space shuttle. 

Paul is very game in widening our cultural scanners for what can be done to debase weddings even further. He does not, however, use selective rapier thrusts. He puts total faith in the heavy bludgeon-cum-brutal stomp in his anti-romance blitz. None of that prissy Prince Charles-like “whatever ‘in love’ means” subtlety. In fact, as you enter the cabaret area you are invited to write on a card your views on the specific question of the specific meaning of love. This best man then contemptuously empties the metal receptacle holding the replies before angrily and noisily kicking it to the metaphorical kerb.

Admittedly, they were pretty awful, having seemingly been pirated from old Hallmark engagement cards. Paul doesn’t actually throw any anthrax spores onto them but it is a close-run thing. Not exactly entertaining one must say. More like a ‘kick the Barbie doll around the room’ session. There was no ‘why’ – just ‘let’s do it’ because it looks angry.

The highlight of the show, I suppose, is the Best Man solo dance as the mirror ball lights work their sugary magic and the punters blow masses of small bubbles using tiny bubble kits supplied on the seats. His unrhythmic (facing the other way) crabbed drift around the dance floor has a surprisingly sobering effect. It is genuinely ugly and onanistic. It reeks of failure, loathing and intense personal spite. Nicely done and a clear warning to others against trying to beat the odds in the mug’s game of weddings. It is right up there with Ricky Gervaise’s jaw-dropping animalistic dance in The Office.

If you aim to catch this unique one hour performance – a powerful and welcome antidote to the nauseating “Love you bro” beer commercial currently doing the rounds – you must go tonight. Paul (Mark Vigeant) was openly canvassing for around ten punters to show up to make it worthwhile. He could get lucky. Those who showed up last night hooted and cheered with gusto like a hand-picked bunch of wedding lovers/marriage haters creating entirely the right anti-buzz. Being around 30 and single seems to be about the right demographic.  


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