VK's Comedy & Blues Bar, 60 Dixon St, Wellington

12/02/2016 - 13/02/2016

NZ Fringe Festival 2016 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

You may be familiar with the theorem which postulates that an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of type-writers will, eventually, almost surely produce the complete works of Shakespeare.  

You may also be aware of the fact that the monkeys are not real monkeys. Rather, they are metaphors for abstract devices that produce an endless random sequence of letters and symbols.

We are also not real monkeys. But we aren’t really metaphors for abstract devices either.

In any case, long before those monkeys come upon William’s master-works, they will “almost surely” piece together a collection of ramblings, skits, characters and jokes that resemble our work.

It may well all be better articulated by the monkeys, but with this show we give it a good nudge.

We are Ben MacGougan and Pete Hodkinson. Drawing from experience in stand-up comedy, acting, improvisation, music and writing we have endeavoured to piece together a stage show that captures the full extent of what we think comedy should be. 

Picture yourself sprinting through an art gallery. A mix of sounds, sights and moments in time that flash by, a gasping-out of colours, reaching through frames to tickle your belly… but you’re on the move mate; we’ve got a lot to cover in this quirky gallery.

Maybe you don’t know quite what to make of it all. That’s ok. Half of the time, we don’t know what to make of ourselves. Embrace it. You’ll be fine after a good night’s sleep and a wank. 

Like an art gallery on fast-forward, “Two Monkeys” is an eclectic and unusual mix of stand-up comedy, sketches, and character bending nonsense guaranteed to charm. Video content splits-up costume changes and builds on the show’s whimsical narrative.

In this, the first instalment of the stage show, one of our monkeys (Pete) seeks to constrain his hyperactive libido with a computer implant, fresh on the market promising to artificially alter his sense of desire; the Incentichip.

Replacing his sex-addiction with a craving for rejection, he fumbles his way through a brand new set of challenges. Monkey number two (Ben) tries to help, whilst quietly delighting in the absurdity of his companion’s predicament.

Add to this mish-mash of silliness with a pair of washed out agony-aunts who will trouble-shoot audience relationship issues live, some dense but passionate television news anchors covering an Ebola outbreak, an exposé on the hip-hop economy, And a mad scientist peddling his dubious wares and you have all the ingredients for a hilarious night of “what the hell just happened to me?” 

With every intention of creating further instalments of this show, we may not bring you Shakespeare, but we will bring you more characters, more whimsy and more funny than you know what to do with. We want to make Wellington’s 2016 Fringe Festival the launch-pad for our sketch-studded comical monkey-opus. 

Swing with us through our tree-tops.
*No faeces were slung in the making of this show*

VKs Comedy & Blues Bar, 60 Dixon St, Te Aro, Wellington 
8:30pm, 12-13 Feb
1 hour 40 min 
BOOKINGS: TICKETS: $15/$10/$10 

Theatre , Comedy ,

A comic brainstorm

Review by Saran Goldie-Anderson 13th Feb 2016

Infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters might eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare… but when you only have two monkeys, what on earth will they create?

The self-proclaimed monkeys in question, Pete Hodkinson and Ben MacGougan (with onstage tech support from Tony Black) may not have come up with Shakespeare, but the end result is an undeniably fun and funny double act with plenty of good surprises.

Initially we’re not quite sure what to expect and, by choosing an improvisational beginning, neither are the comics. They’ve got ideas and characters in abundance, an audience to win over and video segments that are sometimes hard to hear but elicit some loud chuckles as stand-alone pieces. It’s clear the two are comfortable working together, as the sketches both on and off the screen leap quickly into a clown (Hodkinson) and straight-man (MacGougan) dynamic.

The first act feels a bit fragmented as the comics set the scene. There’s more improv, more crowd work and a heavier focus on the energetic physicality of Hodkinson’s comedy as he flits between personas and accents and fills up the stage. We have no idea what’s coming next and we’re kept off kilter as we go along for the ride. This makes some of the audience interactions more awkward but the brashness of some characters is offset by the (knowingly sent up) dry humour of others. Hodkinson’s accents and good-natured self-deprecation are crowd pleasers, and by the end of the first half we’re ready to see where it’s all heading. 

Act Two is where we start to suspect the monkeys may have had quite a plan all along. MacGougan moves delightfully from foil to second half feature during an interview sketch that brings the audience to complete involvement and thunderous applause. The character dynamic is perfect, the execution good humoured and we’re 100% sold. MacGougan’s simple yet wickedly eloquent walk through a children’s picture book has the audience in stitches and the whole show comes together in an absolutely satisfying arc that culminates in wild cheering and a solid ovation. 

Two Monkeys is what happens when you give the monkeys typewriters and wait and see – but it’s far cleverer than it seems. It’s a comic brainstorm, a very fun night, and a perfect example of Fringe.


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