TOM WRIGGLESWORTH’S Open Return Letter To Richard Branson

The Classic Studio, Auckland

24/04/2010 - 08/05/2010

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

10/05/2010 - 15/05/2010

NZ International Comedy Festival 2010

Production Details

This extraordinary solo show was nominated for an Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Award for ‘Best Show’ at the 09 Edinburgh Fringe.
It is the true story of how English comedian, Tom Wrigglesworth was moved to take on Richard Branson and Virgin Rail and make a difference resulting in the passing of Lena’s Law.
Having witnessed a Virgin Train Manager abusing his position, (to the extent that Hitler would’ve watched admiringly and taken notes), Tom writes to Richard Branson about one random act of kindness which caused good to triumph over evil. Join Tom as he recounts his hilarious and heartwarming true story involving the world’s biggest jobsworth, his fellow passengers, and a brown paper bag from the onboard canteen. 
“ ***** (5 Stars) Magical storytelling…engaging, inspiring and exquisitely performed. This is an hysterical and accomplished piece of work which will stay with you for days.” Time Out UK
“ ***** (5Stars) Formidable…beautifully complex material, both hilarious and touching…The gods of comedy chose Tom Wrigglesworth for greatness.” The Scotsman

Dates: Sat 24, Mon 26 April – Sat 1 May, 7.15pm & Mon 3 – Sat 8 May, 8.45pm
Venue: The Classic Studio, Level 1, 321 Queen St, City
Tickets: Adults $26, Conc. & Groups 10+ $22
Bookings: Ticketek, 0800 TICKETEK, /
Show duration: 1 hour

Dates:  Mon 10 – Sat 15 May / 8:30pm
Venue:  San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, City
Tickets:  Adults $26, Conc. & Groups 10+ $22
Bookings:  Ticketek, 0800 TICKETEK,
Show duration:  1 hour


Good Samaritan story a stand out

Review by Priyanka Bhonsule (Hutt News) 11th May 2010

It is a real shame Wellington doesn’t get to see Jason Cook’s new show, Fear!, due to his sudden return to the UK. But rest assured Tom Wrigglesworth is more than a worthy replacement.

His one-hour show is based on an incident he was involved in while travelling on a train between Manchester and London, owned by Virgin Rail, a branch of Richard Branson’s empire.

While most stand-up comics rely on real-life experiences for their material, more often than not it is tweaked to maximise the laughs – a version of what they would have liked to have happened or have said.

However, this story is largely unembroidered: Wrigglesworth is the hungover protagonist, only after his one cup of hangover-curing tea. The damsel in distress is a little old lady and the villain in this scenario is a mean, corpulent train manager (believe me, you’ll hate him by the end too); the hero even has helpful sidekicks along the way.

Though a Good Samaritan story seems unlikely to entertain a large room of paying punters for an hour, this charming yet crazy Englishman’s yarns and extremely funny asides make this show memorable.

There is a touching moment in the show where laughing truly feels awkward but Wrigglesworth lets you feel the emotion before getting back to the comedy, once again drawing out the big laughs.

This is a true story and Wrigglesworth’s actions, which have actually made a difference to Virgin train policy, and his skilful comedy, will uplift and cheer you no-end as you leave the show.

If there is one stand-out show to end your Comedy Festival with a bang, this is most certainly it.


Make a comment

An intelligent and thoughtful comedian

Review by Rachael McKinnon 25th Apr 2010

Wrigglesworth is a wordsmith and a storyteller. He is like that friend you have that could easily turn a brief jaunt to the supermarket into a gripping tale. Sure, he says that the Icelandic volcano disrupting his travel plans has left him exhausted. He also says that on the night of his first ever performance in New Zealand we have been blessed to witness the most shambolic version of his five-star-winning festival show. However, this is clearly a case of an artist being their own harshest critic because the show is mesmerising and over too soon.
Like most train-related tales the show has a consistent momentum, is fairly linear and anything tangential is brief and witty. It has a beginning, middle, end and a moral. It is satisfying, complete and thought-provoking. In essence, this show is everything you would expect from a recognised international comedian.
The show’s title is not one of those misleadingly quirky titles chosen simply for their appeal on a poster; this really is an open letter to Richard Branson, or at least a re-enactment for our benefit. He tells the story of his experience on a Virgin train (the Pendolino to be precise) on one particular tea-less morning where Newton’s three laws play out in various surprising and heart-warming ways.
An Open Return Letter to Richard Branson fits into the modern zeitgeist like a glove. It resonates with people’s desire to return to a time without corporate dominance and without the apparent intolerance to the milk of human kindness.
Tom Wrigglesworth is an intelligent and thoughtful comedian. He does not skip a beat when responding to heckles from the crowd and he does not persecute people who do wish to engage with him during the show. Although the general consensus is that it is better to just let him do the talking.
By the end you have the impression that you have seen someone who as at the top of their craft and has dedicated himself to honing his comedic skill. I am hesitant to tell you any more because, as I said, this show is a story and I would not want to spoil it.
This is a must-see.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council