Wellington Preview Show

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

09/05/2023 - 09/05/2023

NZ International Comedy Festival 2023

Production Details

Hosted by Tony Lyall

Presented by the New Zealand Comedy Trust

The New Zealand Comedy Trust presents Wellington Preview Show, hosted by Tony Lyall!

Jumpstart your Comedy Fest experience with a taste of what’s coming up in Wellington at Te Auaha – Tapere Nui.

Hosted by Tony Lyall and featuring unmissable performances from Salome Bhanu, Clarissa Chandrahasen, Lesa MacLeod-Whiting, Sri Nair, Orin Ruaine-Prattley, Tom Sainsbury, Jim Stanton, Neil Thornton and Kura Turuwhenua.

This will be a popular Festival pick so don’t delay!


Booking: https://www.comedyfestival.co.nz/find-a-show/wellington-preview/
Prices: $22 – $26
Time: 6.30PM

Comedy , Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

90 minutes

A spectacular night of comedy that leaves one wanting more

Review by Wesley Hollis 10th May 2023

It’s official – the New Zealand International Comedy Festival has kicked off in Wellington, and what better way to get started than with the Wellington Preview Show at Te Auaha. The show features a diverse line up and is packed to the brim with side splitting jokes. Starring MC Tony Lyall and nine comics bringing their best five minutes of material, this preview gives us a tantalising taster for some of the shows yet to come during the festival.

MC Tony Lyall is the first to take the stage. Friendly and engaging, he warms the crowd up quickly with some fresh material about his travels to Wellington and a little crowd interaction. Tony has a talent for being able to take audience responses and spin them into comedy gold. Throughout the night he helps to keep the energy going, hyping the crowd as he introduces each comic and returning every few acts to treat us to more of his own comedy. From the relatable moments to the rude ones, Tony proves himself worthy as someone whose whole show you have to see to get the best of him. His show Kill Joy opens on 9 May at Te Auaha, running until 13 May, an essential for anyone looking for a night of hard hitting comedy.

Kura Turuwhenua is the first act proper, whose use of te reo Māori words throughout her set makes her stand out. She covers topics such as family, sex and a visit to Kerikeri, and her presence on the stage is warm and relaxed. Kura’s debut solo show Hōhā Guy opens on 9 May at Bats Theatre, running until 13 May and promising comedy that is “silly, a little bit dorky and a little bit f*cked up”.

Orin Ruaine-Prattley is up next. A calming presence on stage, he talks effortlessly about race, family and modern masculinity. His comedy has one or two sad moments but there is definitely plenty to laugh about. Orin’s show I’m Busy opens 9 May at Cavern Club, running until 13 of May and promises to provide an honest, vulnerable look at everything from romance to mandarins.

Sri Nair takes to the stage, bringing with him a cheeky smile and cheeky style of comedy. He talks about being Indian in New Zealand and plays around with stereotypes, with some talk about family and therapy as well. Sri’s comedy is punchy and easy to love. His show Upside Downopens 9 May at the Fringe Bar and gives you a glimpse into the behind the scenes of his life.

Jim Stanton brings with her a sparkly stage presence, with a glittery top and stunning pink skirt. Her outfit is as loud as her personality and stage presence, as she delivers comedy on neurodiversity and parenting. Bubbly and fun, you’d be a fool to miss her show Bandwagon which opens on 23 May and runs until 27 May. Taking a further look at what it means to have ADHD in 2023, this show features Jim’s “unique wit tinged with silliness and frustration.”

Tom Sainsbury is up next. For someone able to poke fun at their lack of talent in certain tasks, it is clear that Tom has a talent for comedy, in particular storytelling and anecdotes. From having a car broken into to unfortunate celebrity encounters, he is able to show us the funny side of misfortune. Tom’s show Gone Bananas opens on 9 May and runs until 13 May at Te Auaha, where more hilarious stories are promised.

Salome Bhanu is our next comic. She has a slower and more measured pace to her comedy. Much of her set focuses on the various tragedies of her life and venting frustration. Salome’s comedy clearly needs more stage time to get a proper feel for it. The perfect opportunity is at her show Catfish which opens on 23 May and runs until 27 May at Bats Theatre, taking a look at cultural differences and her experiences as an international student.

Lesa MacLeod-Whiting brings an uplifting presence to the stage, even when tackling tricky topics such as religion and abstinence. I find her comedy to be a refreshing look into a world that is unfamiliar to me, with plenty of punchlines built around fascinating stories. Lesa’s show On-Brand opens 16 May and runs until 20 May at Cavern Club and promises to be as uplifting as her preview, discussing everything from serious topics to the absurd.

Clarissa Chandrahasen is another sparkly stage presence, dazzling us not only with her outfit but with her personality as well. From talk about quiet quitting to home ownership, everything Clarissa has to say is presented with confidence. It’s clear she doesn’t even need to try to be awesome. Her show Flawless runs from 23 May to 27 May at Cavern Club and promises a closer look at millennial life, from relationships, social media, queerness and beyond.

Neil Thornton is the last act of the night. Neil manages to capture the audience without even speaking as he rolls onto stage with his pink roller skates and rainbow unicorn onesie. His style of comedy is loud, occasionally angry, definitely filthy and discusses everything from being an American in New Zealand to queer identity. Neil’s show Hot Mess on Wheels opens 23 May and runs until 27 May at Te Auaha, promising more filthy humour and an exploration of “why camp and queer culture mean so much to him.”

Overall this is a spectacular night of comedy that leaves one wanting more. The biggest downside was how short all of the acts were – I could easily have listened to an hour long show of each and every one of them. Luckily, with so many fantastic shows coming up, there is that opportunity. I already have my tickets to several of them, do you? 


John Smythe May 13th, 2023

Thanks Jen. Wesley got it right and the typo error is now corrected on the production page.

Jennifer O'Sullivan May 12th, 2023

Correction: Jim Stanton's show is called BANGWAGON. Thanks for the review! https://bats.co.nz/whats-on/bangwagon/

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