Tell Me On A Sunday: A One Woman Musical

Tell Me On A Sunday will not be a hard sell for those already acquainted with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work but I do feel this musical production is particularly accessible and one that can be easily enjoyed by all.  Directed by David Coddington, this one woman musical is performed by a cast of one and made up of a one-act song cycle which showcases music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black.

We follow an ordinary English girl from Muswell Hill who journeys to the United States in search of love.  Her romantic aspirations starts off in the Big Apple, then to Hollywood and eventually back to Manhattan.  The story of her quest for love which turn out to be more of romantic misadventures is told entirely through song as a monologue but also in the form of letters to Mum.

Carly Binding, contemporary pop singer and songwriter, makes her musical debut and is perfectly cast as the “woman of the hour”.  She commands the attention of the audience effortlessly with not only her beautiful tone and stunning range but charismatic personality as well.

Her performance was simply mesmerizing; she is both an accomplished vocalist and gifted storyteller.  She moves from one song to the next with great ease and I thought she interpreted the songs remarkably; with honesty and heartfelt conviction.  My favorite performance of the night was Unexpected Song – the emotion she delivers in this song is incredible and sent chills up my spine.

The accompanying costume changes to signify the passing of time were executed well and added a dynamic layer to the performance.  Carly made full use of the set which is minimal but beautiful with everything on stage having a purpose.  Mention must also be made on the excellent lighting design which set the mood and ambiance perfectly.

Musical director Robin Kelly once again doesn’t disappoint, working his magic with an extremely talented band who bring the score to life and support Carly’s vocal performance beautifully.  The three backing singers also added great depth to the overall sound; their harmonies had just enough restraint and blended well with Carly’s vocals.

Overall this is an outstanding, top notch production which ticked all the boxes for me and left me wanting more.  If you enjoy musical theatre, this one’s for you.

The Whimsical Banana rates Tell Me On A Sunday: 5/5 bananas

Tell Me On A Sunday is presented by The Real Theatre Company and is playing at the Loft at Q until 24 November.  To buy tickets and to get a taste of the music, click here.

This review is also featured on the Q website.

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Review: Nuclear Family

With the world becoming increasingly more mobile, immigration has become a significant part of life for many individuals and families.  New Zealand has definitely become more of a multicultural hub as a result of this.

Penned by Desiree Gezentsvey, Nuclear Family offers a fresh perspective on the “joys of immigration” through the eyes of a group of Venezuelan and Soviet Jewish immigrants the day before the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.  It explores the emotional journey experienced by immigrants as they acclimatize to life in a new country – adapting to cultural differences, learning the local slang, struggling with identity issues and establishing a new career path.

Zina moved to Aotearoa seven years ago and while she has become quite settled in her new home she still has ties to her home country, Ukraine, where her children still reside.  Abi, a friend, has recently immigrated but already longs to return to Venezuela which doesn’t sit well with Alec, her husband.

At the center of it all is Zina’s shrewd and charming Babushka who doesn’t approve of her granddaughter’s manipulative ways and who’s sole concern is the promise she made to Zina’s late parents.  Collectively they all question the existence of freedom, choice and control in their lives as immigrants.

The most remarkable thing about this production is it is performed solely by one person.  Yael Gezentsvey skillfully and effortlessly portrays a dozen characters throughout the hour – each completely fleshed out with their own distinct accent, voice and mannerisms.  Apart from the core characters, some of the other personalities we get to meet are a friendly Maori neighbor, a playful child, a typical Kiwi bloke and sleazy Mr Potts.

Yael seamlessly switches between them all and although you may initially struggle to work out who’s who, you will quickly notice clear points of difference with each character.  This is truly a credit to and joined product of Yael’s impressive acting prowess and James Hadley’s vision and superb direction.

For me, I felt the underlying message that this story ultimately delivers is that everyone has an innate desire to belong somewhere.  It tackles the feeling of alienation and being torn in between two worlds that is often faced by immigrants, particularly if the family is divided.  This is also represented in the cleverly conceived set of two contrasting picket fences on opposing ends of the stage.

Nuclear Family is funny and gut-wrenching, riveting and moving, earnest and heartfelt.  It will speak to those who are immigrants themselves and will provide an eye-opening window into that life for those who aren’t.  It is a thought-provoking and exceptionally written piece performed flawlessly – a wonderful mother-daughter collaboration not to be missed.

The Whimsical Banana rates Nuclear Family:  5/5 bananas

Nuclear Family is playing at the intimate Loft at Q until 10 November.  It’s only a short season so get in quick!  For more information visit the Nuclear Family website and to buy tickets, click here.

This review is also featured on Keeping Up With NZ.

This review also appears on the Q website.

Little Shop of Horrors: “Unusual Story, Fascinating Plant”

This is probably a strange choice for a family favorite but that was what the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors film was for me growing up.  Needless to say I was extremely excited when I found out that Auckland Theatre Company were bringing this comedy horror musical to the stage.  I have been looking forward to this production for months and I am thrilled to say that it did not disappoint!

Based on the original 1960 film by Roger Corman and inspired by the 1982 Off-Broadway production, this Auckland interpretation directed superbly by Simon Coleman, brings to life everything I remembered enjoying about this quirky musical and more.  The story is set in 1960s Skid Row and begins in the failing Mushnik’s Flower Shop.  Seymour is the clumsy, geeky florist assistant who becomes an “experimental botanist” overnight when he discovers a strange-looking plant after an unexpected eclipse of the sun.

Business begins to boom as this mysterious plant becomes a popular local attraction while Audrey, the co-worker he is secretly in love with, is starting to take interest in him. There’s only one problem – the plant, aptly named Audrey II, has an insatiable appetite for human flesh and blood.  As the story unfolds, we see Seymour battle with his conscience and faced with a moral dilemma.  He has his dream life and love but can he live with himself knowing it came at the price of catering to the plant’s carnivorous needs?

What I was most curious about was how the plant was going to transfer from what I have seen on screen to the stage.  Apart from looking slightly obscene, I felt the creative team did an excellent job at bringing the titular plant to the stage.  Kyle Chuen, the man behind the plant and Rima Te Wiata, the voice of the plant, worked together harmoniously to breathe life and personality to this demanding and menacing creature.

Audrey II aside, the other characters are realized by a talented ensemble of performers with impressive vocal chops.  Tim Carlsen was definitely the perfect choice to play Seymour; I thought he embodied everything about the character brilliantly and vocally he was flawless.  Similarly Colleen Davis was fantastic as the sweet but naive Audrey and Paul Barrett was excellent as the cranky, money-minded Mr. Mushnik.

I also really enjoyed Andrew Grainger’s portrayal of Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend and Seymour’s nemesis; he brought great comedy to an otherwise dark and unlikeable character.  Rounding up the cast is the fabulous trio behind Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon, the resident street urchins who comment (mostly through song) on actions that take place throughout the story.  I thought they brought great sass and attitude to the stage, enhanced all the more by their many striking costume changes!

The set is stylistically quite simple and there is minimal use of props.  What really made the stage more dynamic and visually exciting was the perfect mix of creative lighting design (including a laser light show), well-timed theatrical smoke and fog, and clever use of visual projections.  The projections were used to not only indicate changes in location and time, but also to mirror street art and graffiti to give Skid Row an edgier, more dangerous feel to it.

Being a musical, naturally the music is an integral part of the story.  Led by musical director Jason Te Mete, the songs are performed impeccably by a four-piece band tucked away backstage.  These numbers are a fantastic collaboration of Howard Ashman’s wonderful lyrics and Alan Menken’s gift of music and are inspired by 60s doo-wop with a dash of Motown and rock and roll.  The melodies are distinct and catchy and you can expect to have any or all of the more well-loved tunes – Somewhere That’s Green, Downtown, Suddenly Seymour and Feed Me – resonate in your head for days after.

Little Shop of Horrors is a slick and colorful production that is visually and vocally stunning, delightfully hilarious and a whole lot of fun.  It succeeds in being both an utterly ridiculous farce and a deliciously hysterical and entertaining musical at the same time.  I don’t necessarily agree that it is best suited to children 12 years plus, but it can certainly be a fun experience for the whole family and it is a definite must-see for all musical lovers.

The Whimsical Banana rates Little Shop of Horrors: 5/5 bananas!

Little Shop of Horrors is playing at the fabulous Rangatira at Q until 2nd December.  For show details and to book tickets, click here.

Full synopsis and cast information can be found here.

This review is also featured on Keeping up with NZ.

This review also appears on the Q website.

The Red Chair: Obsess + Confess

On entering the Loft at Q, I was immediately transported to some sophisticated piano bar in the heart of New York.  The mood lighting and theatrical fog created a dramatic effect and a sense of  mystery while the cabaret-style seating and gorgeous fairy lights served as the perfect backdrop for what was to come.  Expectations were definitely high and I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed in the slightest.

The Red Chair, under the superb direction of Aaron Tindell, is music theatre like no other.  Four characters – an older man, his cynical long-time lover, a younger guy skeptical about love and a younger woman with a troubled past – all share their stories candidly and emotively through song.

The songs – everything from Edith Piaf to Boy George – form a musical montage of the many romantic and sometimes obsessive emotions one experiences when dealing with love.  Every song transitions seamlessly to the next cultivating in a beautiful and colorful  journey of music which tackle an array of things – unrequited love, lust, jealousy and even a nervous breakdown.

What makes the show truly unique is how the performance is presented.  The red chair that is in the center of the room leads you to believe that that is where the “stage” is but there really isn’t a stage.  Instead the entire space is the stage with the performers freely roaming the room and mingling with audience members, even sitting at other specially lit red chairs that are placed at selected tables.

This blurring of the lines between the audience and the performer provides a very intimate and immersive theatre experience.  You find yourself having a more personal connection with the performers and because of the closeness in proximity, it does feel like you are a part of the performance as well.

I was blown away by the vocal prowess of each performer.  Andrew Laing’s vocals had a wonderful charm and storytelling quality to it that made him so easy to listen to.  Roz Turnbull effortlessly commanded your attention every time she sang.  What I loved most about her performance was the way she fully embodied the song, delivering not only a fantastic vocal but one with loads of personality too.

Melissa Nordhaus impressed me the most with her incredible vocal range and I loved the honest and heartfelt way she interpreted the songs.  My favorite of the four was Will Barling because of his silky tone and that beautiful vibrato.  His rendition of Petrified from the stage musical Taboo sent chills up my spine; my favorite number of the night, hands down.

The Red Chair was just spectacular and truly a magical experience, one I will not soon forget.  It is live music at its finest – a must for those who want to enjoy music theatre with a twist.  Exquisite performances, extraordinary storytelling through song, and an excellent band who bring it all together – huge hats off to Robin Kelly for providing the musical heartbeat to the show.

The Whimsical Banana rates The Red Chair: 5/5 bananas!

The Red Chair is a Dionysos production and is playing at the fabulous Q Theatre until 6th October.  To buy tickets, click here.

Thank you to Passion PR!

This review is also featured on Keeping up with NZ.

Private Lives: The Original Rom-Com

We have all at some point known of couples who are stuck in the vicious cycle of break up – get back together – break up – get back together.  Rinse and repeat.  What is it that makes them keep going back for more even though they are clearly not right for each other?

Written in 1929 by the late Noël Coward, Private Lives explores this particular brand of temperamental, mismatched love.  Elyot and Amanda are happily divorced and five years on they are now honeymooning with their new spouses.  Little do they know that as rotten luck would have it, both couples happen to be doing so in the same hotel right next to each other.  Awkward.

I really enjoyed the first act.  It sets up not only the tone of the play perfectly but through Sibyl and Victor’s incessant questioning, we also learn of Elyot and Amanda’s volatile relationship filled with narcissistic egos and constant bickering which ultimately ended due to alleged infidelity.  A lit line in the middle of the stage marks the two balconies of their adjoining hotel suites and the scene goes back and forth between the couples seamlessly, with their conversation bouncing off each other in an uncanny mirrored symmetry.

Against the stark white backdrop, music forms the heartbeat of the play and the friendly banter between the two new lovers takes a turn when Lou Reed’s dreamy and melancholic Perfect Day starts playing.  When Elyot and Amanda finally set eyes on each other, all hell breaks loose and what unfolds is nothing short of chaotic comedic mayhem.  Although Elyot has an overwhelming “sensation of impending disaster”, this is ignored completely for the irresistible pull they have towards each other and subsequently they run off together, abandoning Sybil and Victor.

Act two sees the couple “living in sin” in Sydney.  Unsurprisingly the reasons as to why they eventually divorced in the first place begin to rear its ugly head again.  Their use of the code word “sollocks” to impose a time out seems to put them at bay for a while but they soon realize that the undeniable chemistry they share which brings them together is also the thing that makes them completely unsuitable for each other.

As the story unfolds, their love-hate relationship unravels; their quarrels increasingly intensify and eventually it all culminates to an explosive crescendo.  This could be seen as repetitive but the ever-present comedy which is sharp, witty and dripping with linguistic irony keeps things fresh and entertaining.

It’s hard to believe Private Lives was penned over eighty years ago as, tweaks aside, it still manages to feel modern and as relevant as though it were written yesterday.  It has been revived many times over the years but with this production in particular, what really brings this play to life are the actors.

Matt Whelan was the star of the show for me.  He plays the superficial and caddish Elyot to perfection, providing a great comedic physicality to the character and delivering a plethora of excellently written and brilliantly timed one-liners with great ease.  Mia Blake’s stage presence is electric and perfectly complements Whelan’s performance as the sexy and sophisticated Amanda.

Fresh off The Pride*, Silo’s previous production, Sam Snedden is a natural fit for Victor, the sensible moral compass of the group and antithesis to Elyot.  He once again showcases his remarkable ability to fully embody any character that he is given.  Finally there’s Sophie Henderson who portrays the young and naïve Sibyl wonderfully, giving Whelan a run for his money delivering some great comedic moments too.

Shane Bosher, who previously directed TRIBES**, triumphs again as director in this production.  He is clearly an actor’s director for he has succeeded in bringing out the best performances in these actors making it an absolute delight to watch.

Private Lives is an exceptionally written story that transcends time and is romantic comedy at its best.  It will have you hooked from start to finish and leave you wanting more.

The Whimsical Banana rates Private Lives: 4/5 bananas!

Sexy, risqué, ridiculously fun and absolutely hysterical – Silo Theatre have done it again!

Private Lives is playing at the fabulous Rangatira at Q until 29 September.  To book tickets, click here.

*Read my review of The Pride here.

**Read my review of TRIBES here.

Review: Drowning in Veronica Lake

There’s just something about Hollywood in the 1940s that just oozes glamor.  Even though there was undeniably a dark side too, the 40s is still one of my favorite eras in American history.

If you are nodding in agreement, then you are going to absolutely adore Drowning in Veronica Lake, the fourth and latest production by Flaxworks.  A one (wo)man “tell all” show delivered as a monologue, Veronica Lake has come back to life to tell us about her steady rise to stardom which was then followed by her equally steady fall from grace.  She shares everything from the time she dined with the President to how she was sued by her own mother.  I thought the moments when she broke the Fourth Wall and addressed the audience directly was a great touch.

Alex Ellis portrays the sexy screen siren to perfection.  Her Old Hollywood drawl is true to the period and I felt she embodied the spirit of Veronica not just physically but emotionally as well.  While she is most definitely the star of the show, coming in at a very close second has got to be that stunning dress!  Sara Taylor and Elizabeth Whiting  really have to be commended for putting together such a gorgeous garment.

The dress plays a prominent role in the show, not just physically but metaphorically as well.  When you take your seat in the lovely-as-always Loft at Q, Veronica is already on the stage waiting and your eyes are immediately drawn to the dress which covers the entire stage.  As the narrative progresses and we start to see Veronica’s steady decline into drunken obscurity, we see the dress start to lose its shape and form too.  The symbolism of this is all the more powerful and effective due to the exceptionally paced narrative.

Criticized and stifled by her over-bearing mother before being treated the same way by the controlling Paramount Studios, we even see Veronica start to wrestle with the dress itself before eventually “drowning” in it.  I thought the dress being used as a metaphor of her being trapped in an industry where she struggled to be recognized for her talent and not just her “peek-a-boo bangs” was very clever.

Alex also momentarily goes off-character throughout the story to play other people in Veronica’s life, most notably her mother.  She does this seamlessly, switching between voices, accents, demeanor and even posture with lightning speed.  She performs essentially rooted in place for the entirety of the play but the well-timed use of light, sound and music to indicate a change in set and scene helped provide depth and “movement” to the show.

What makes this play extra special is the fact that it cannot really be considered a tribute to Veronica Lake, though it could easily be mistaken as one.  It does celebrate her legacy but the stories that are told are actually what was generated by the studio, the media and even Veronica herself during her time in the spotlight.  Many of these were suspicious and conflicting and we are reminded of this through the tongue-in-cheek nature of the script.

Drowning in Veronica Lake is dark, haunting, incredibly nostalgic and a must see, especially if you are a fan of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  The story of her life is both intriguing and tragic but sadly not unique.  This play provides a fascinating, “firsthand” insight into what happens on the other side of the fame and bright lights of Tinseltown.

The Whimsical Banana rates Drowning in Veronica Lake: 4/5 glamorous bananas!

Brilliantly written by Phil Ormsby and under the masterful direction of Simon Coleman, Drowning in Veronica Lake is playing at the fantastic Q Theatre until 1st September.  For more details and to book tickets, click here.  For a taste of Veronica, check out this video.

Review: Krishnan’s Dairy

I left Guru of Chai completely blown away and utterly amazed at how one man effortlessly brought seventeen different characters to life while another creatively used sound to evoke our imagination and transport us to a different place.  This week I was thrilled to be back in the Rangatira at Q to experience another dose of Indian Ink theatrical magic.

Krishnan’s Dairy may be fifteen years old but it sure doesn’t feel like it.  The narrative is still as refreshing and contemporary as if it was written yesterday.  Weaving together copious amounts of comedy, two love stories and a touch of folklore, Krishnan’s Dairy is a heartwarming and endearing slice-of-life tale that is both entertaining and moving.

Gobi and Zina Krishnan are immigrants from India who have moved to New Zealand with their newborn child in the hopes for a better life and future.  They own a little corner store dairy and like a fly on the wall, we watch this couple as they go about their everyday business.

I thought Gobi and Zina were quite the comical pair; you can’t help but laugh at the charming shopkeeper and be amused at his wife’s antics.  I especially enjoyed Gobi’s interactions with the customers and Zina’s hilarious reenactment of a story involving Ganesh, the elephant deity.

Jacob Rajan’s masterful storytelling and superb showmanship along with David Ward’s exceptional guitar playing and accompanying sound effects draw you in to this immigrant family’s world immediately.  Once again Jacob plays many faces and this time he does so quite literally, seamlessly switching between characters through the swift changing of masks.  He does this so skilfully that the transition is smooth and not at all distracting.

What I found most impressive was how he convincingly pulled off conversations between Gobi and Zina.  The rapid back and forth mask-swapping, different voices and changes in body language were all executed so perfectly that it’s truly mind-boggling that there is actually only one actor on stage.

Unlike Guru of Chai, the set is minimal and sound genius David works his magic mostly hidden from sight.  A standout for me was the clever incorporation of mime into the story.  Jacob mimes perfectly in sync with David’s impeccably timed sound effects – it’s really quite impressive to see.

I also really liked the way in which the backstage was used as part of the set too – I thought it was a nice little nod to those old school stores that are run by families who usually lived either behind or above the store.  Using both light and shadow or even just simply moving from one end of the stage to the other, it created another theatrical element to the story.

Krishnan’s Dairy is a beautiful and brilliant masterpiece by the Indian Ink Theatre Company and considering it’s longevity, is already proving to be a timeless classic.  If you haven’t already seen it, put simply: you need to.

The Whimsical Banana rates Krishnan’s Dairy: 4/5 bananas!

Tickets are going like hot cakes so make sure you get in quick!  The season at Q concludes on August 4th.  For more information and to book tickets, click HERE.

Review: Guru of Chai

My week was made that bit more extraordinary when I was treated to a trip to India.  The amazing thing about this statement is I never actually physically went but such is the magic that I experienced at the opening night of Guru of Chai.

After getting over the fact that the Rangatira at Q had magically transformed itself AGAIN, I got settled into my seat and was fully expecting to immerse myself in a very good play.  What I experienced was so much more than that. From the minute Jacob Rajan and his right hand man, David Ward took the stage I was completely enthralled and entertained.

Guru of Chai is an engaging and compelling tale about a humble chaiwallah and how seven abandoned sisters appearing at his chai stand proceeded to change his life forever. Delivered in the first person, the charming and jovial tea seller welcomes us into his world, inviting us to embark on the journey with him.

The play involves a rich tapestry of creative storytelling, colorful sound, a little bit of magic, clever shadow play and even a spot of puppetry.  Whether intentional or not, it certainly challenges the boundaries and any preconceived notions you may have had on what defines a stage production.

The most impressive thing about this play is Jacob’s outstanding performance.  What I didn’t know going in was that this play was essentially a cast of one.  Apart from playing the titular character, Jacob also effortlessly embodies every single other character that appears in the story.

The way in which he skillfully transitions between the different personas just blew my mind.  Every character is fully realized with their own individual personality, distinct voice, set of mannerisms, and even differing postures.  This “skillful schizophrenia” is truly a work of art – Jacob is undeniably an extremely talented and gifted character actor with great stage presence.

Between Jacob’s charismatic showmanship, array of props at his disposal and the colorful set, the play is definitely visually mesmerizing.  However I must stress that the production is just as impressive to hear as it is to see.

Employing an eclectic blend of banjo-playing (tuned to sound like a sitar), haunting songs and innovative sound effects (from an electronic drum machine to a simple plastic bag), David is the ultimate human prop.  His musical accompaniment complements the narrative perfectly – be it helping to affect tone or to increase tension – elevating and giving the production another texture to the story.

Superb theatrics and spectacle aside, the hero of this play is the story itself.  The script is incredibly dynamic and the multi-layered narrative is superbly written, weaving together a good dose of  humor, elements of culture and just the right amount of drama and action.  To me, a good story is one that entertains, speaks to the heart and resonates and this could not ring truer with Guru of Chai.  The story is unpretentious and honest and just keeps you wanting more.

I cannot recommend Guru of Chai enough.  It is a theatrical masterpiece that is heartwarming, captivating and surprisingly insightful. It is a story about a single man, but it is also a story about life, love and loss.  This is truly a unique experience that everyone should not miss out on!

Thank you, Indian Ink, for this absolutely phenomenal piece of theatre that I will not soon forget – I can’t wait to see Krishnan’s Dairy next!

The Whimsical Banana rates Guru of Chai: 5/5 bananas!

Guru of Chai is playing at my favorite performing arts space, the stunning Q Theatre, until July 21st.  For more information and to book tickets, click HERE.

This review is also featured on the Q Theatre website.

Comedy Fest 2012 Review: The Boy with Tape on his Face in More Tape

 

I first saw The Boy with Tape on his Face as part of a ten-act show at The Classic seven years ago and ever since then he has been a favorite of mine.  I even got picked by The Boy to help out on stage which was slightly terrifying at first but then turned out to be a really cool experience and something I will always look fondly back on!

I must mention that I only recently found out that that was actually his first stage show which meant I was his first ever volunteer – how special am I?!  But I digress…

These days The Boy is more than capable of holding his own and is perfectly happy having the stage all to himself along with his trusty satchel of tricks, box of props and of course, the all important tape.  I was privileged enough to be invited by The Boy to attend his opening night of the Auckland season and WOW, what an incredible show!  So much fun, so many laughs and an epic soundtrack to go with it all!

His new show, More Tape, is full of toys, props and is a mad and whimsical mix of vaudeville, mime and even puppetry.  What I especially enjoyed was the incorporation of the music to the set and how it provided an additional element of comedy to the performance.  Another integral part of the show is The Boy enlisting help from various handpicked members of the audience – you are even forewarned from the get go that participation is compulsory…unless you want to look like a cock!

Sam Wills, the man behind The Boy is truly a world class act with numerous awards under his belt (more likely in his satchel!).  He is also the first New Zealand comedian to be a part of the Royal Variety Performance in the UK.  He will soon be preparing to perform a month-long season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the biggest arts festival in the world.  Accolades and achievements aside, he also happens to be a very lovely person!

I think the thing that makes The Boy so special is that he has truly defied the conventions of stand up comedy.  He is a stand up comedian that doesn’t speak and yet his antics will have you laughing from start to finish.  His entire performance is well thought out with a good story arc of mostly standalone little tricks and bits but that all flow together seamlessly.  The show is perfectly paced and well-timed which is impressive considering a lot of it is improvised and dependent in part on the volunteer’s cooperation (or lack of).  He has outstanding showmanship and great comedic intuition that will have you enthralled and amazed.

I don’t want to give too much away as the magic of his show is in the anticipation of the unknown and watching it all slowly unravel.  All I will say is his show is brilliant, hysterical, incredibly entertaining and the best silent comedy you will ever see.  This is a show like no other and one you do not want to miss!

The Whimsical Banana rates More Tape: 6/5 Tape-tastic bananas (an extra banana for good measure!)

The Boy is performing at the beautiful Rangatira at Q all of this week with an extra show before his final one on Saturday night – tickets are selling fast so get your tickets NOW (HERE) or regret forever!

The Boy and I in 2005

The Boy and I seven years later 🙂

Sam, thanks so much for the hook up and it was so awesome meeting you after the show too – it’s crazy that it has been seven years!  See you again on closing night!

To find out more about The Boy, visit his website.

NZICF 2012 Review: Marcel Lucont in Gallic Symbol

From the moment he so skillfully, without missing a beat and cool as a cucumber, put a heckler in his place at last year’s Comedy Gala, I was converted a Marcel Lucont fan.

Brought to life by the brilliant British comedian Alexis Dubus, Marcel Lucont is a self-proclaimed flâneur, raconteur and bon-viveur.  He brings a rare stand up comedy masterpiece that is uncommonly low-energy but full of sharp wit and dry humor centered around his cynical observations as a proud French misanthropist and expert international lover.  He is an excellent wordsmith and is flawless when it comes to telling a story – impeccably timed and perfectly paced, his egotistical and deadpan but yet alluring delivery will have you hanging on his every word and laughing in all the right (and sometimes wrong!) places.

In his new show, Gallic Symbol, you can expect more exquisite sex poetry (this time of a “breasty” nature), his usual haughty grievances about most things (especially anything British) and so much more.  His opening piece, “50 actual ways to leave your lover” sets the tone of the show perfectly.  Why wouldn’t you choose to catapult yourself in to a sea of naked women as a way to leave your significant other?  Perfectly normal and not over the top at all.  Apart from reading from his “manual of a sex addict”, he also shares hilarious excerpts from the diary of his teenage self.  If there’s anything funnier than Marcel Lucont, it is quite possibly a teenage Marcel Lucont.

My personal favorite bit was his hilarious parody of British humor; his impersonation of a stuffy British man is scarily accurate albeit incredibly stereotypical!  I also really enjoyed the amusing “sex positions 101”-esque class he delivers near the end, complete with corresponding visuals on cue cards.  And of course, the grand finale!  Marcel’s debut rap performance.  Yes, rap.  Prepare to be impressed.  All I can say is – merde oui!

I had the pleasure of meeting Monsieur Lucont after the show and he is an absolute delight!  I also got to see him in action again on the weekend co-hosting Le Comique, a cabaret-style event showcasing alternative comedy.  Suffice it to say, he was in top form then too and this time with a whole bottle of wine in tow!  Unfortunately his solo shows have finished its run in both Auckland and Wellington but you still have a chance to catch him as part of the Comedy Convoy, touring nationwide between 14-26 May (details HERE).

He really is one of those acts that words just cannot do him justice – you really need to be there to experience it yourself.  The show is highly sexual (but never vulgar, though sometimes teetering very near it!) and full of the sardonic musings of a self-righteous, narcissistic Frenchman, but if you can get past that, you will not be disappointed!  His performance is just effortless and will keep you captivated from beginning to end.  He is not overtly funny to the point you find yourself laughing yourself to tears (or maybe you might!) but his instinctive use of combining dry humor, sharp wit and a lot of clever wordplay, all delivered at the opportune time, will no doubt have you laughing and thoroughly entertained.

The Whimsical Banana rates Gallic Symbol: 5/5 bananas (FANTASTIQUE show!)

 

See you next year, Marcel – merci beaucoup for the outstanding show and for the lovely message in your book (and you’re right – it is superb! 😉 )

If you would like to get to know more about Monsieur Lucont, check out his website: www.marcellucont.com.